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:
The Elec reports that LG Display lowered its internal OLED TV panel shipment goal in 2022, as it realizes it will not be able to ship the 7.8 million panels it hoped for. The TV market in general is seeing lower demand this year, and in addition LGD's hopes to sell panels to Samsung Electronics did not materialize.
Looking to 2023, however, LGD plans to produce 9.2 million OLED TV panels (out of which 5.4 million will be produced at the company's Guangzhou fab).
DSCC: large-area OLED equipment sales to drop to zero in 2023, but resume in 2024 mostly for CSoT's inkjet printing panels
DSCC says that spending on equipment for the production of large area OLED panels (used in TVs and monitors) have decreased from $3 billion in 2019 to $2.05 billion in 2020, $1.47 billion in 2021 and will drop further to $1.42 billion in 2022.
DSCC estimates that in 2023, the spending on such equipment will be zero. But OLED producers will resume buying large OLED equipment in 2024. Spending in 2024 will amount $2.01 billion, and in 2025 - $1.51 billion.
LG Electronics started accepting pre-orders of its largest OLED TV yet, the 97" OLED G2. The price of the TV, in Korea, is 40 million Won (around $28,500).
LG's G2 Gallery OLED TV series, are offered in 55-, 65-, 77-, 83- and 97-inch sizes. The TVs offer 4K 120Hz OLED evo G panels, LG's Alpha 9-5 video processor, 4 HDMI 2.1 inputs, HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision and WebOS 22.
The COVID-19 pandemic created an increased demand for high quality IT solutions, including monitors and collaborative tools, which prompted OLED display makers to start offering solutions for this market for applications like computer monitors, signage and more.
OLED displays that are 20-inch or more suffer from incompatibility with standard capacitive touch, because the thin OLED panel results in large parasitic capacitive coupling with the touch surface. The dynamic driving of OLEDs (where only lit pixels draw current) further reduces the capacitive touch performance by introducing unpredictable “display pattern noise”. These issues are easily mitigated in small area displays, but as OLEDs increase in size, the performance and costs of capacitive solutions suffer.
UBI Research estimates that sale revenues of medium and large OLED displays (UBI defines these from 10-inch and up) rose 22.9% in Q2 2022 compared to the previous quarter and 11.2% compared to last year - to reach $1.67 billion.
In term of sales, UBI estimates that total shipments in 2022 will reach 26.3 million units. Most of the growth in 2022 will come from laptop displays - where shipments almost doubled in the second quarter to 2.18 million units.
Last week Seoul hosted the K-Display 2022 exhibition, Korea's largest display industry event, and both Samsung and LG demonstrated their latest display innovations.
In the video above, you can see LG's 97" OLED.EX CSO panel and its 55" transparent OLED panels. Samsung was showing its latest foldable OLED panels (that can be folded twice) and its QD-OLED panels.
LG Display demonstrated a new 97" OLED.EX panel, that features the company's Cinematic Sound OLED (CSO, which was once Crystal Sound OLED) technology which turns the whole panel into a high-end speaker.
LG launched its OLED.EX technology in December 2021. These WOLED panels combine new deuterium compounds and personalized algorithms to improve the image quality and increase brightness by up to 30%. EX is an acronym of Evolution and eXperience.
Esteemed US-based A/V retailer Value Electronics conducted its latest annual TV shootout, with very interesting results. It is not a big surprise, but OLED TV won the first places in both the 4K and 8K shootout.
In the 4K category, VE tested five TVs, out of which 3 were OLED TVs: The LG G2 OLED TV, Samsung S95B QD-OLED, Samsung QN95B (QD miniLED), Sony A95K QD-OLED and Sony's X95K mini-LED. The winner of this year's shootout was Sony's A95K QD-OLED.
NanoPalomaki posted an interesting teardown of Samsung's S95B QD-OLED TV.
This is an interesting video to watch, during which you can see the sub-pixel structure of the TV. This is only the first part of the teardown, we'll see what is revealed in the second part.
TechRadar posted an interesting article that reviews Samsung's latest miniLED TV (QN85B Neo QLED, to be exact) and compares it with LG's OLED TVs.
The miniLED TV is excellent with high brightness, excellent color performance and a very good design. But at the end of the day, the image quality is not as good as the quality you get from an OLED TV, especially as the display suffers from blooming/haloing and non-consistent black scene performance.