What is an OLED TV?
OLED TVs use a display technology called OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) that enables displays that are brighter, more efficient, thinner, flexible and with higher contrast and faster refresh rates than either LCD. Simply put, OLED TVs deliver the best picture quality ever!
OLED TV technology
Each pixel in an OLED TV emits light on its own (in fact each pixel is made from 3 different OLEDs, red, green and blue). OLEDs are truly emissive devices with a simple design which gives them many advantages over current LCD technology:
- High contrast: in OLEDs we have true blacks as when a pixel is off it does not emit any light. In LCDs, the backlighting is always on and so true blacks are impossible to achieve. Even when compared to the latest high-end mini-LED backlit LCDs, the contrast of OLEDs is superior.
- High refresh rates: OLEDs can switch on and off much faster than LCDs.
- Better power consumption: OLEDs only consume light on lit pixels - as opposed to LCDs who always need to use the backlighting. The power consumption of OLEDs depends on the image shown, but in most cases OLEDs will be more efficient than LCDS.
- Flexibility: the simple design of OLEDs enables next-generation flexible, bendable, foldable and even rollable displays. LG is now shipping the world's first rollable TV, the 65" 65RX.
OLED TVs on the market - what can you buy today?
As of 2022, the leading company that produces OLED TV panels is LG Display - making panels ranging from 42-inch to 97-inch. These OLEDs offer the best image quality of all TVs on the market today. LGD is offering its OLED panels to many companies, including LG Electronics, Sony, Vizio and Panasonic.
In 2022 Samsung joined LGD and started to produce its own OLED TV variant, called QD-OLED (which is based on blue OLED emitters and quantum dots color conversion technology). Samsung is producing 55-inch and 65-inch QD-OLED TV panels.
There are dozens of models available today, ranging from entry-level OLED TVs to high-end rollable, bendable and even transparent ones. Click here for the latest OLED TVs on the market.
Direct Emission vs WRGB / QD-OLED
The most straightforward OLED architecture uses 3 color OLED sub-pixels (Red, Green and Blue) to create each 'pixel'. This is referred to as a direct emission OLED, and is the design used in mobile OLED displays (for example those used in Apple's latest iPhones and Watches).
For its OLED TVs, however, LG Display is using a different architecture, called WRGB (or WOLED-CF) which uses four white OLED subpixels (each created by using both blue and yellow OLED emitters) with color filters on top (RBG and W). The WRGB technology (developed by Kodak and now owned by LG Display) was found to be easier to scale-up for large-area OLED production, although it suffers from lower efficiency and more complicated design.
As we stated, Samsung's OLED TV architecture is based on blue OLED emitters and quantum-dots color conversion layers.
The latest OLED TV news:
Last year LG Display unveiled its latest OLED TV technology, branded as OLED EX, which uses a deuterium-based blue emitter materials, that enabled that LG to increase brightness by up to 30%. These panels are now adopted in LG's higher-end OLED TV panels.
According to a report from Korea, the deuterium-based blue emitters were supplied to LGD by DuPont. But the company has also been working its affiliate LG Chem to develop the capabilities to produce a similar deuterium emitter, and now LG Chem is starting to supply some of these materials to LGD.
At SID Displayweek 2022, BOE demonstrated a 95" 8K OLED TV display prototype. This was an impressive display, and reports suggested that BOE is considering to start producing such panels commercially.
According to a new report from Korea, BOE has indeed decided to initiate production of OLED TV panels. BOE plans to produce 300,000 panels in 2022, in sizes ranging from 55-inch to 95-inch.
LG Electronics is expanding its "lifestyle" OLED Objet TV range, with two new TVs, both based on 65" 4K WOLED evo panels.
The Easel (65Art90), which you can see above, resembles an easel used for painting or showing art, and offers a movable fabric cover that can be controlled from the remote and offer just part of the TV image (Line View).
At SID Displayweek 2022, BOE demonstrated a 95" 8K OLED TV display prototype. This was an impressive display, and according to DSCC, BOE actually hopes to start producing such panels commercially.
BOE, it seems, aims to produce the display at its B5 R&D line, which has a very limited capacity. But as TVs based on this panel will be premium TVs, the limited capacity may be enough.
DSCC says that global OLED revenues in Q1 2022 were around $9.5 billion, the same as in Q1 2021, even though unit shipments declined 4%.
Smartphone remained the leading OLED application, with a 79% revenue share, even though shipments decreased 8% (and revenues decreased 3%). The second largest application by shipments is wearables (16% in Q1 2022 by shipments and in 6% market share by revenues).
BOE demonstrated its latest OLED technologies and displays at SID Displayweek 2022. The most interesting display is a 95-inch 8K HDR OLED display, produced on an Oxide-TFT panel with a white-OLED CF structure. The panel was produced using an evaporation method.
This is the first time we hear of BOE's evaporation TV program, since around 2016. The company has an active inkjet printing OLED TV project, and in December 2019 it unveiled a 55" 8K (160 PPI) printed OLED TV prototype.
As we reported last week, LG Display is developing OLED TV panels that utilize a microlens array to increase the light output. LGD unveiled its first prototype display at SID Displayweek 2022.
LGD is showing a 77" 8K panel that features what the company refers to as Meta-lit Lens Array, or MLA technology. The MLA layer increases light output by more than 20%, and the panel achieves a brightness of 2,000 nits. LGD says that the viewing angles is also increased using the MLA technology.
Yesterday we reported on LGD's SID Displayweek exhibition displays, and today the company shared a video with us that shows some of these displays in action:
First you'll see LG's latest 8.03-inch 2480x2200 foldable OLED displays, that can fold both inwards and outwards. The second display is LG's largest WOLED panel, the 97-inch OLED.EX.
LG Display has unveiled a new foldable OLED panel, that can fold 360-degrees - both inwards and outwards. The panel is 8.03" in size with a resolution of 2480x2200, and has been tested for over 200,000 folding cycles. LGD says it developed a special folding structure to minimize creasing.
Reports from Korea suggest that LG Display is looking into adopting a microLens array in its large OLED TV panel architecture. The microlens layer could boost brightness by up to 20%, which will also increase efficiency (if brightness is kept as before).
MicroLens array structure, University of Michigan
According to the report, the project is at an advanced stage, and panels with the microLens array could be introduced by the end of this year. LGD will apply the technology to its OLED.EX panels, so brightness could reach up to 1,200 nits. LGD considers this technology as it faces competition in large-area OLED production, from Samsung's QD-OLED panels, for the first time.