Article last updated on: Nov 23, 2017

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 (China's BOE is initiating small-scale production). LG Electronics has several OLED TV models on the market - ranging in size from 55" to 77". LG's latest range of OLED TVs all support 4K (UHD) resolution and HDR. Reviews of OLED TVs are terrific, and most experts and consumers agree that OLED TVs are the best TVs ever produced - with virtually perfect image quality.

LG Display also supplies panels to other companies - including Panasonic, Sony, Grundig, Philips, Metz, Loewe, Skyworth, Changhong, Haier, Konka and others. The following table shows some of the prominent 2017 OLED TVs available in the US:

Entry level 55"/65" ($1,999 / $2,799)
LG OLEDG7 photo
High end 65"/77" ($4,999 / $9,999)
Wallpaper 65"/77" ($7,999 / $30,000)

In August 2013, Samsung launched an OLED TV as well, the KN55S9C, that used Samsung's own OLED TV panels. Samsung stopped producing and marketing the S9C OLED TVs soon afterwards and is currently focused on quantum-dot enhanced LCDs (and perhaps Micro-LED will be Samsung's future TV display technology of choice).

Direct Emission vs WRGB

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 in Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Apple's iPhone X.

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.

Rollable and transparent OLED televisions?

Like we said before, OLEDs can be made flexible, or transparent. Both LG and Samsung demonstrated large 55" transparent and mirror OLED prototypes, and LGD already demonstrated 77" rollable and transparent OLED panels, which it plans to commercialize by 2020. 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.

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

Further reading

Latest OLED TV news

Will Samsung construct an OLED TV fab at its A5 production site?

Samsung's OLED fabs are currently under utilized - with some analysts estimating that its flexible OLED fabs are running at about 50% capacity following lower-than-expected orders from Apple. SDC also decided to delay its upcoming A5 production fab.

Samsung OLED TVs (2013)

This is a lot of wasted capacity. Last month I speculated that SDC may target new applications for its OLEDs - including monitors and laptops - or perhaps transparent OLEDs as well. According to a new report from Korea, SDC may be aiming to start constructing an A5 line - but use it to produce large-area OLED TV panels. According to a financial analyst, Samsung recently assembled a new OLED TV team with 300 R&D employees.

Sony announces the prices of its 2018 OLED TVs

Sony's announced the prices of its new 2018 OLED TV, the AF8. The 55" model will retail for $2,800 while the 65" one will cost $3,800. The AF8 will ship soon in the summer. You can pre-order now at, although prices are higher by around $500 then Sony's official price.

Sony AF8 photo

The AF8 is a premium TV series (55-inch / 65-inch) that feature Sony's X1 Extreme picture processor, Sony's Acoustic Surface tech and Google and Amazon voice recognition technologies.

The OLED Marketplace, find your OLED here

Samsung denies it is developing QD-OLED TVs, will focus on Micro-LEDs and QLEDs

Last week we reported that ETNews claims that Samsung is developing a hybrid Quantum-Dots OLED technology for its future TVs.

Today Yonhap News reports that Samsung Visual Display Business VP, Han Jong-hee, denies this story, saying that Samsung sticks to its two-track strategy for the high-end TV market, developing both QLED (quantum-dots enhanced LED LCDs) and Micro-LED TVs. Han further says that Samsung will start selling its Wall Micro-LED TV in August 2018.

DSCC: the OLED material market will reach $2.56 billion in 2022

Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) says that OLED material revenues grew 43% to reach $869 million in 2017. DSCC expects the OLED material market to grow at a 24% CAGR until 2022, when the market will reach $2.56 billion.

OLED material revenue by type (2016-2022, DSCC)

The small/medium display market accounts to about 59% of the total OLED material market, and this will continue until 2022. For the TV market, DSCC expects ink-jet printing to enable producers to make lower the material costs of OLED TV production, and OLED TV materials will grow at a rate of 23%, from $344 in 2017 to $963 million in 2022.

ETNews: Samsung is developing hybrid QD-OLED TVs

ETNews posted an interesting article, claiming that Samsung Display is developing a new TV technology that combines OLED emitters with quantum-dot photo-luminescence materials. The basic idea is to use blue OLED emitters and then convert the blue light to white light using quantum-dots combined with color filters (QDCFs) to add red and green colors.

Samsung OLED TVs (2013)

This seems to be a rather complicated design, but it could be much easier to produce compared to a true RGB OLED TV, as there is no need for precise OLED patterning. This is similar to LG's WRGB OLED TVs which use a white OLED source (made from yellow and blue emitters) and color filters on top.

UBI: 440 million AMOLEDs were shipped in 2017, the market will reach almost a billion units by 2022

UBI Research estimates that AMOLED shipments reached 440 million units in 2017 (up 13.6% from 2016), with revenues reaching $27.1 billion (up 62.3% from 2016). Only yesterday did DSCC release its own estimates of $23.2 billion in revenues for the AMOLED market in 2017.

AMOLED market forecast (2018 - 2022, UBI Research)

The AMOLED market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.5% to reach almost a billion units in 2022. Revenues will grow faster at 22% and reach $80.5 billion in 2022.

LG Display orders the deposition equipment for its Gen-10.5 line in Paju (P10)

Towards the end of 2015 LG Display announced that it plans to build a new OLED fab (P10) in Paju in a $8.7 billion investment to produce both mid-sized flexible OLED and large-sized OLED TV panels. LGD considered for a while whether this new fab will be based on Gen-8 production or Gen-10.

LG Display production hub in Paju

According to a new report from Korea, LGD has ordered its first batch of deposition equipment for the P10 line, which will be Gen-10.5 (2940 x 3370 mm). The first line will have a production capacity of 30,000 substrates per month, which will greatly increase LGD's total OLED TV production capacity. LGD finished the construction of the building and the fab is expected to be complete in the first half of 2018.

Philips announces its 2018 OLED TV lineup

Philips (TPVision) announced its OLED TV lineup for 2018. Philips will offer three models, the OLED 973, OLED 873 and OLED 803. All of these 2018 TVs will be pretty similar, and all will feature 4K WRGB OLED panels, Philips' P5 "Perfect-Picture" processor, 3-sided Ambilight, HDR10, HLG and HDR10+ (will arrive in Q2 2018), Quad-core Android TV platform with Google Assistant and 16GB of memory.

Philips OLED 973 photo

The main difference is the TV design, and the 973 will also offer a 60W soundbar. The 973 and 873 will come in 65", while the 803 will also have a 55" option. The OLED 973 and OLED 873 will launch in Q1 2018, and the OLED 803 will arrive in the summer. Philips did not yet disclose the pricing of its new OLED TVs.