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:
- Much higher 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 with high-end local dimming, the contrast of LCDs is simply no match for OLEDs.
- Higher 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's amazing 65" rollable TV unveiled in 2019 would be very difficult to create (if not impossible!) using an LCD panel.
OLED TVs on the market - what can you buy today?
As of 2019, the only company that produces produces OLED TV panels is LG Display - making 55" to 88" OLEDs that offer the best image quality possible today. LGD is offering its OLED panels to many companies, including LG Electronics, Sony, Panasonic and many other companies.
LG's 2019 OLED TV line includes:
- The top of the range Z9 OLED TV which uses LGD's latest large 8K 88" OLED panel.
- The Wallpaper OLED W9 with its beautiful design
- The midrange OLED E9 and the new OLED C9, LG's "entry-level" OLED TVs.
- The world's first rollable OLED device - a TV that rolls into its base - the 65" Signature OLED TV R!
As of April 2019, LG is now shipping the OLEDC9 TVs - the 55" model costs $2,499 and the 65" model costs $3,499. The 77" model costs $6,999 and will ship in May 2019. LG is also shipping the higher-end OLEDE9 TVs - the 65" costs $4,299 while the 55" costs $3,299. You can still buy the LG's 2018 OLED TV lineup which includes the flagship Wallpaper OLEDW8 the high-end OLED-on-glass OLEDG8 and OLEDE8, the basic OLEDC8 and the entry level OLEDB8.
Sony's OLED TVs, based on the company's Android OS platform, are also very popular. Sony currently offers the high-end AF9 and AF8. Sony started shipping the AF8 TVs in April 2018 and - the 55" model currently costs $2,300 while the 65" one costs $3,000 (note: affiliate links to Amazon). In early 2019 Sony launched its new 2019 OLED TVs -
- The Master-Series A9G with its "consumer reference-quality image" (panel sizes 55, 65 and 77 inch)
- The A8G - which also offers high quality images and Sony's Acoustic Surface Audio
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. The company's next generation OLED TVs, however, will be based on the company's unique QD-OLED technology - but 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. Flexible OLEDs have been in production for a long time, and in 2019 LG will release the world's first rollable TV, its 65" Signature OLED TV R!
Both LG and Samsung also 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. While the market demand for transparent OLEDs is not certain, this is an exciting technology that hopefully will reach the market in the future!
The latest OLED TV news:
US-based Vizio announced that it will launch its first ever OLED TV later in 2020. The company did not yet release the model name, but said that the 4K TVs will come in either 55-inch and 65-inch.
Vizio's OLEDs will feature VIZIO’s IQ Ultra processor and will be borderless and only 4mm thick.
Chinese TV makers Skyworth and Konka both announced new OLED TVs, and for the first time these brands will ship their new TVs in the US (and hopefully in other countries outside of China as well). The companies did not announce the shipping date or price of the new TVs yet.
So first up we have Konka's X11 Series, that feature LG's 55" and 65" 4K WRGB panels, with Konka's ZeroBezel Ultra Design with built-in sound bar including dbx TV Sound enhancement.
HiSense to add new technologies to solve burn-in, low brightness and color accuracy issues in its 2020 OLED TVs
In November 2018 HiSense launched its first OLED TV range, the Series X in Australia and later in Europe. The 55" model is now shipping in the UK for £1,149. According to reports, demand for HiSense's OLEDs were lower-than-expected, at least in Australia.
According to a new report from China, HiSense 2020 OLED TVs will feature new technologies to solve image burn-in, low brightness and color inaccuracies. HiSense developed six-layers of technologies that include LEA-edge station logo monitoring and adjustment; local brightness adjustment of static content under dynamic video; brightness adjustment function for still images; overscan pixel shift technology; OFFRS function; and JB function.
LG Display announced that it will demonstrate several new OLED technologies at CES 2020 in Las Vegas next week (January 7-10).
First up, LG Display will show new applications for the aerospace market - including 55" transparent and flexible OLEDs used in airplane cabins. LG will also demonstrate a 65" bendable OLED TV, suitable for first-class cabins, that enable users to adjust the curvature of the TV to create a more immersive experience when required. It seems as if interest in OLEDs is increasing in the aerospace industry.
DSCC updated their display industry forecasts, saying that as LCD prices continue to fall it revises the capacity forecast downward by 6% as Display makers are delaying and cancelling LCD investments. DSCC's OLED capacity forecast is also reduced by 4% - and is now growing at a CAGR of 19% from 2016 to 2025 (the main reason is the cancellation of Visionox V2 phase 2 and LGD's E6 Phase 3)..
DSCC says that OLED TV roadmap is still not clear as Chinese makers are not ready to commit to OLED TV production. DSCC does see next-generation TV capacity coming online in the future - which could be inkjet-printed OLEDs, OVJP, MicroLEDs and other potential technologies. But the next-generation display market is certainly not clear yet and DSCC sees an extended forecast during which demand will outpace supply (especially as average TV size continues to grow).
According to a new report in Korea, LG Display is delaying its P10 10.5-Gen OLED TV fab plans. The company's original plan was to start mass production (with 30,000 monthly substrate) in H1 2022, but the date now shifted to 2023.
The report says that LG Display notified one of its main equipment suppliers, YAS, that it is delaying its plans. Other main suppliers for the P10 fab include Applied Materials and Jusung Engineering.
In October 2019 Samsung Display formally announced its decision to invest $10.85 billion in QD-OLED TV R&D and production lines. SDC was supposed to start the plan in 2019, but according to a report from China the Company is delaying its initial investment. Originally mass production was supposed to begin in Q1 2021, but this may happen later if the investment is delayed.
It seems as if equipment makers expected to receive orders for production equipment, but that did not happen. The report says that Samsung decided to make personnel changes and transfer in January 2020 and only after these changes will the company finalize its investment plan in the new OLED TV fab.
On August 2019 LG Display announced today that it started producing OLED TV panels at its 8.5-Gen OLED fab in Guangzhou, China. But in October it was reported that LGD's yields at the new fab were still low (50-60%) and mass production did not start as planned.
A new report from Korea suggests that LGD still did not manage to stabilize the new fab, and mass production is now delayed to after the first quarter of 2020. LGD's original plans were to produce around 5.5 million OLED in 2020, but that plan assumed the Guangzhou fab will be in full production rate by the end of 2019. LGD already lowered its 2019 OLED TV production capacity due to the Guangzhou delay.
Yesterday BOE held its Innovation Partner Conference (IPC) at the Beijing APEC Center and the company unveiled a 55" 8K (160 PPI) OLED TV prototype produced by inkjet printing. The panel achieves a maximum brightness of 400 nits and a color gamut of 95% DCI-P3.
BOE inkjet-printed 55" 4K OLED TV (2018)
This is BOE's 2nd inkjet printing OLED TV prototype, the first one being a 55" 4K panel presented at BOE's 2018 IPC. These displays were both produced at BOE's R&D production line in Hefei that uses Kateeva's inkjet deposition equipment.
LG Electronics says that it shipped over 5 million OLED TVs since it began offering OLED TVs in 2013. LGE's OLED TV sales are accelerating and it is currently shipping an average of 100,000 OLED TVs each month.
According to earlier reports LGE has asked LGD to provide it with 2.5 million OLED TV panels in 2020. LGE's is the world's leader in OLED TVs, but it is not alone - there are 15 brands that currently offer OLED TVs, including Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Skyworth and Hisense.