Article last updated on: Nov 29, 2018

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 (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 in the future we will see bendable, rollable and transparent OLEDs.

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.

What about QD-LEDs?

The latest premium LCDs use quantum-dots to enhance the efficiency and color gamut. Read here for a a comparison of OLED and QLED technology.

OLED TVs on the market

As of 2018, the only company that produces produces commercial OLED TV panels is LG Display, and LG Electronics is the leading OLED TV producer - although LGD also supplies OLED panels to other companies including including Panasonic, Sony, Grundig, Philips, Metz, Loewe, Skyworth, Changhong, Haier, Konka and others.

LG OLEDW8 photoLG 2018 OLEDW8

Reviews of OLED TVs are terrific, and most experts and consumers agree that these OLED TVs are the best TVs ever produced - with virtually perfect image quality and beautiful form factors.

LG's 2018 OLED TV lineup include the flagship Wallpaper OLEDW8 (which attaches to the wall using magnets), the OLED-on-glass OLEDE8, the basic OLEDC8 and the entry level OLEDB8. The only TV that is shipping now is the 55" OLEDC8 which is priced at $2,500 (note: this is an affiliated link to Amazon).

Further reading

Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters