Most TVs on the market today are LED TVs - which should have been called LED-backlit LCDs, as the LEDs are only used as the backlight for these TVs. OLED is the next-gen display technology with improved performance and design. OLED TVs are slowly gaining market share, though high costs and limited production capacity limit adoption.

LG EF9500 flat OLED TV photo

An OLED TV vs an LED TV

An OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) panel is made from organic (carbon-based) materials that emit light when electricity is applied. An OLED TV is made from millions of pixels, each made from red, green and blue tiny OLED materials.

A LED TV is a confusing term - as it should actually be called LED-backlit LCD. This is still LCD technology, but instead of the fluorescent (CCFL) lamps, an LED TV uses LED lighting for the white backlighting. While LED LCD TVs look better than CCFL LCDs, they are still no match for OLED panels.

OLED displays have the following advantages over LCD displays:

  • OLED offer a better image quality - even with the latest quantum-dots enhanced LED TVs, OLEDs still provide a far better contrast ratio (true blacks), faster refresh rates and wider viewing angles
  • OLEDs typically consume less power (as only lit pixels draw power)
  • Design freedom - OLED panels are thinner and lighter than LCD panels, and OLEDs can be made flexible - and bendable TVs will soon hit the market. In the future we'll even have rollable TVs.

Of course OLED technology is not perfect - two challenges are the relatively limited lifetime (and thus burn-in issues) and the high production costs which are mostly due to the low production volume currently in place.

OLED TVs on the market

As of 2017, LG Display is the only real OLED TV panel producer, and parent company LG Electronics has several OLED TV models on the market - ranging in size from 55" to 77". 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)

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, features a flat 4K OLED panel, HDR, Dolby and Android TV. Panasonic's EZ1000 OLED TV offers professional features in a consumer OLED TVs with several image enhancement technologies.

Sony A1E OLED TV photo

Further reading