What is an OLED TV?

An OLED TV screen uses a new display technology called OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes). OLED technology enables displays that are brighter, more efficient, thinner and feature better refresh rates and contrast than either LCD or Plasma displays. Simply put, OLED TVs deliver the best picture quality ever!

LG EG9600 photo

OLED TV technology

OLED displays are made by placing thin films of organic (carbon based) materials between two conductors. When electrical current is applied, light is emitted. OLED displays are emissive and unlike LCDs, do not require a backlight (unlike LCDs). OLED TV panels offers several advantages over LCDs:

  • Faster refresh rate, better contrast (true blacks) and better color reproduction
  • Better form factor - OLED enables much thinner panels
  • Better viewing angle - almost 180 degrees
  • Efficiency - in an OLED display, only the lit pixels draw power, unlike in an LCD.)
  • OLED panels can potentially be made flexible and/or transparent - think rollable TVs!

OLED TVs on the market - what can you buy today?

As of 2017, only LG Display produces commercial OLED TV panels (although China's BOE is also entering production). LG Electronics has several OLED TV models on the market - ranging in size from 55" to 77". Some of these are flat, and some are curved, and all the latest models support 4K (UHD) resolution and HDR. Reviews of LG's OLED TVs are great, and most experts say that these are the best TVs ever produced - with virtually perfect image quality. Following is a table of LG's 2016 models (LG's 2017 OLEDTV models are just entering the market now as well)

LG OLED65B6P photo
B6 flat 55/65" ($2,497 / $3,499)
LG OLED65C6P photo
C6 curved 55/65" ($2,497 / $3,499)
LG OLED65E6P photo
E6 flat high-end 55/65" ($3,499 / $4,999)
LG OLED77G6P photo
G6 premium 65/77" TVs ($7,999 / $19,999)

In early 2017 LG launched its 2017 OLED TV models, which are all updates to the 2016 ones. LG also launched it's new flag ship TV - the Wallpaper Signature OLEDW7. These extremely thin TVs (2.57 mm all the way) attach to the wall using magnets.

LG Display also supplies panels to other companies - including Panasonic, Sony, Grundig, Philips, Metz, Loewe, Skyworth, Changhong, Haier, Konka and KTC.

Sony's XBR-A1E, launched in early 2017, is the company's first OLED TV - well, besides the experimental 2008 11" XEL-1. Sony's OLED TV features a flat 4K panel, HDR, Dolby and Android TV. Sony's TV uses a built-in speaker which is part of the stand behind the TV to create a stand-less form factor. Sony will offer the TVs at 55", 65" or 77".

Sony A1E OLED TV photo

Panasonic also launched several OLED TVs of its own (all using LGD's panels). The EZ1000 OLED TVs offer professional features in a consumer OLED TVs with several image enhancement technologies.

Panasonic EZ950 photo

In August 2013, Samsung launched an OLED TV as well, the KN55S9C. Samsung stopped producing and marketing the S9C OLED TVs soon afterwards and is currently focused on quantum-dot enhanced LCDs. Some reports suggest that Samsung does plan to start producing OLED TVs in the near future, but the company itself says it has no plans to do so in the near future.

Direct Emission vs WRGB

The basic OLED TV design uses 3 color OLED sub-pixels (RGB: 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 in Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Apple's Watch).

For its OLED TVs, LG Display is using a different architecture, called WRGB (or WOLED-CF) which uses four white OLED subpixels with color filters on top (RBG and W). The WRGB technology (developed by Kodak and now owned by LG Display) is much easier to produce and scale-up, even though it has some technical disadvantages.

Rollable and transparent OLED televisions?

Like we said before, OLEDs can be made flexible, or transparent. LG is developing a 60" 4K rollable TV, for example, and both LG and Samsung demonstrated large 55" transparent and mirror OLED prototypes. These kinds of technologies are exciting - and while it will be some years before they reach the market, they could eventually redefine the TV of the future. The first such TVs to be commercialized are likely to be bendable OLED TVs, which were supposed to launch in 2016 but that did not happen yet.

LGD 18'' rollable OLED prototype (CES 2016)
Samsung Display 55'' transparent OLED photo

Further reading

Latest OLED TV news

Sony starts rolling out its XBR-A1E OLED TVs sooner than expected - and cheaper too

Apr 16, 2017

Sony launched its first OLED TV, the XBR-A1E, in January 2017, and the company now started shipping its TV in Europe and in the US (the 65" model only). The prices (at least on Amazon.com) are $1,000 cheaper than Sony first announced - the 55" model costs $3,999 while the 65" model costs $5,499. The 77" is not shipping or priced yet.

Sony A1E OLED TV photo

Sony's A1E features a flat 4K OLED (LGD WRGB) panel, Android TV platform, HDR (both HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR) and a built-in speaker which is part of the stand behind the TV to create a stand-less form factor.

Skyworth unveils its own Wallpaper OLED TV

Apr 14, 2017

Skyworth has been producing OLED TVs since 2014, and the China-based TV maker has now unveiled its latest two OLED TVs, the S9E and the Wallpaper OLED TV. The Wallpaper one resembles LG's Wallpaper OLEDW7 TVs and also use a design that enables hanging the 3.6 mm screen on the wall and connecting the input box via a cable.

Skyworth Wallpaper OLED TV photo

Skyworth's Wallpaper OLED TV will cost ¥99,999 ($14,500) for the 65" model - which is almost double than LG's OLEDW7 ($7,999)!

Graphene for Displays and Lighting Market Report

LG Display expects 50% of its revenue to come from OLED displays by 2020

Apr 08, 2017

LG Display's CTO says that the company current generates about 10% of its revenues from OLED displays, but it expects OLED's share to reach 50% by 2020.

LG 2017 OLED TV lineup photo

Currently almost all of LGD's OLED revenues come from OLED TV panels. LGD managed to reach production yields of 80% in two years, while this took 10 years to reach the same yields in LCD production. The price decline rate of OLEDs have been faster than that of LCDs - which makes LGD optimistic it will be able to increase production and profits going forward. OLEDs of course also have other advantages of LED LCDs, including the possibility of a flexible design.

LG's Wall of the Sun is the world's largest OLED lighting installation ever with 30,000 panels

Apr 07, 2017

LG Display has put on an ambitious OLED lighting display at Euroluce which is a part of the Milan Design Week. LG actually has two booths, with the first one designed by Tokujin Yoshioka. Tokujin's installation is called Wall of the Sun, and it uses 30,000 of LGD's OLED lighting panels installed on the wall.

Wall of the sun closeup, LG OLED installation by Tokujin Yoshioka (2017)

This makes this installation the world's largest ever OLED lighting installation, which is double in size compared to Konica Minolta's OLED Tulip installation from 2015. This seems to be a very impressive display. The 15 chairs scattered on the floor, by the way, are embedded with LGD's OLED TV panels.

LG starts shipping its high-end 65" Signature OLEDG7 OLED TVs

Apr 07, 2017

LG starts to ship its high-end 2017 OLEDG7 Signature OLED TVs. The price for the 65" model is $6,999. The 77" model is not shipping yet (the price will be $16,999 when it does).

LG OLEDG7 photo

The OLEDG7 is an update to the OLEDG6 series from 2016. These OLED TVs (65" or 77") feature 4K resolution, HDR support (four different standards), WebOS 3.5, Dolby Atmos sound and an on-glass design.

LG officially launches its OLED Wallpaper Commercial Display

Mar 30, 2017

In January 2017 we posted about LG Electronics wallpaper OLED panel that will be adopted in its commercial OLED signage range. LGE finally officially launched this new product, as part of its commercial unit, which also ships dual-sided flat OLEDs and dual-sided curved OLEDs.

The so called "LG OLED Wallpaper Display" features a 55-inch panel and surprisingly only an FHD resolution (all of LG's 2017 OLED TVs feature 4K resolution). The whole panel weights less than 5.8Kg and the width is just 3.65 mm.An ultra-slim mounting brackets with a magnetic mat create a truly seamless design that becomes one with the wall. Electronic components are housed in a separate control box connected to the display with a 2-meter cable. You can see more in the installation video above.

Sony prices its XBR-A1E OLED TVs: $5,000 for the 55" and $6,500 for the 65"

Mar 16, 2017

In January 2017 Sony finally launched its first real OLED TV , the XBR-A1E Bravia OLED TV, and now Sony announced the prices of its TVs: $4,999 for the 55" model and $6,499 for the 65" one. That's somewhere between LG's OLEDE7 and Signature OLEDG7 OLED TVs. According to Amazon the TVs will ship in a month or two (which means April or May).

Sony A1E OLED TV photo

Sony's XBR-A1E feature a flat 4K HDR WRGB OLED panel (produced by LG Display), an Android TV platform and a built-in speaker which is part of the stand behind the TV to create a stand-less form factor. There will also be a 77-inch model, but Sony did not reveal the price of that one yet.

How does LG's Wallpaper OLEDW7 compare to last year's high-end OLEDs?

Mar 14, 2017

LG started shipping the 65" Signature Wallpaper OLED W in the US recently. The price of LG's flagship TV is $7,999 (the 77" will cost $19,999 and will launch later this year). Value Electronics in New York now has one such on display, and the company sent us the following photos and video showing the display in action.

We also discussed the installation and quality of the new TV. Robert Zohn from VE says that the TV wall mounts very easily and the connection is done via the low-voltage control cable which is placed inside the wall. The cable is then connected to the I/O box (which LG calls the AIO box). This creates the beautiful look as the TV has no visible connections and is virtually attached on the wall with a very thin profile.

LG starts shipping its entry-level OLEDC7 OLED TVs in the US

Mar 07, 2017

LG started to ship its entry-level OLEDC7 OLED TVs in the US - the 55" model costs $2,999 while the 65" one costs $4,497. The 55" model is actually out of stock at Amazon.com (yesterday it was still listed as avialable) but Amazon will ship new orders on the 9th of March.

LG OLEDC7 photo

The OLEDC7 is one of LG's basic models in its 2017 OLED TV lineup, an update to the OLEDC6 series from 2016. Interestingly, the C7 uses a flat panel (unlike the curved one in the C6). These OLED TVs (55" or 65") feature 4K resolution, HDR support (four different standards), WebOS 3.5 and Dolby Atmos sound.