Panasonic shows a 56" 4K printed OLED TV prototype

Panasonic unveiled a 56" 4K (3840x2160) OLED TV panel prototype that was produced using an all-printing method. Panasonic calls this the "RGB all-printing method" and they say that all the organic materials were deposited using ink-jet printing. Panasonic says that their OLED panels deliver superb image quality, high contrast and fast response rate. The panels are efficient, ulta-thin and light weight. Panasonic considers OLED as a "promising option for next-generation displays".

Panasonic's panel uses a top-emission structure with a transparent cathode, which results in a more efficient panel (Sony's OLEDs use the same structure, this may be Sony's technology). The panel's TFT substrate was supplied by Sony (so it's probably an Oxide-TFT based panel) as part of the two companies collaboration. Interestingly, even though it seems that they use red, green and blue sub-pixels, Panasonic applied a color filter layer as well - to tune the emission color and achieve high color purity and "superb color reproduction".

Ink-Jet printing is a promising manufacturing process to produce OLED panels as it's quick, precise (i.e. enables high pixel densities) and efficient (very little material waste). This kind of process requires soluble OLED materials.

Back in September 2012 it was reported that Panasonic has taken steps to streamline its R&D and put more focus on OLED TV development, with plans to invest ¥30 billion ($385 million) in a pilot AMOLED production line in Himeji (this was already reported in April). It's likely that this new panel was indeed produced in that Himeji R&D line.

Panasonic has been working on OLED printing technologies for quite some time. Back in 2009, Panasonic teamed up with Sumitomo to jointly-develop OLED TVs, based on Sumitomo's PLED materials and technology. I don't think this partnership is still active. Sumitomo is building a large P-OLED material factory aiming for OLED TV applications - perhaps this TV uses those materials (although it's also likely that Panasonic is using small molecule soluble materials).

Panasonic is collaborating with Sony on OLED TV panel production technology. Sony just unveiled their own 56" 4K OLED TV prototype, developed together with AUO, and as far as we know is made using an evaporation process.

Posted: Jan 09,2013 by Ron Mertens