UBI: The price gap between premium OLED and LCD TVs is almost gone

UBI Research is tracking the price of premium TV sold on Amazon.com in the US. As competition intensifies, the price gap between OLED and LCD TVs keeps getting lower - to the point where is not much difference between a high end Samsung QLED TV and LG's OLEDC7 OLED TVs.

LCD vs OLED TV price gap, (UBI Research, 2016-2017)

In December 2016, the price gap between a 65" LG OLED TV to a 65" Samsung SUHD TV was about $1,000. The price gap as of today is only about $300. The price gap for a 55" TV is even lower (around $200).

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ITRI aims to establish a pilot line for VR Micro-LED displays by the end of 2018

Taiwan's ITRI (or more specifically its Electronic and Optoelectronic System Research Laboratories or EOSRL) aim to establish a pilot line for Micro-LED displays that will start production in Q3 2018.

Oculus Rift photo

According to reports, the line will be used to produce small displays for VR applications - in addition to large-area indoor signage displays. The new line will obviously have a small capacity, but EOSRL believes that Micro-LED displays may grab up a sizable part of the display market.

IHS: The production price gap between a 55" OLED TV and a 55" LCD is about 2.5 times

According to IHS, production costs of 55" 4K OLED TVs have declined 55% from the beginning of 2015 to Q2 2017. IHS estimates that it costs $582 for LGD to produce a 55" OLED panel, and the price will continue to drop to reach $242 in 2021.

55'' TV production cost, LCD-vs-OLED (2015-2017, IHS)

In early 2017 the cost of a 55" OLED TV is about 2.5 times the production cost of an equivalent 4K LCD TV panel. The price gap has narrowed as it was 4.3 times back in Q1 2015. The price in material cost is currently around 1.7 times - but other factors such as yields and depreciation increase LGD's production costs.

Wired: the OLED display on the iPhone X is noticeably better than the LCD display on the iPhone 7

Apple has not started shipping its much anticipated OLED iPhone X, but a reporter at the Wired received an early unit and has posted a review after a week of using this new device. There's a lot to like in Apple's new flagship phones - a great form factor, great cameras, fun animoji's and a large potential. Besides being expensive, the reporter also complains about Face ID problems and says that the phone and it's black "notch" at the top is an "aesthetic setback".

Apple iPhone X photo

The reviews is very happy with the OLED display - as it covers almost the entire phone, the iPhone X has a large display (5.8" 1125x2436 flexible Super AMOLED) in a relatively compact form factor. It's only slightly bigger than the iPhone 8 while it has a display that's almost the same size as the one in the iPhone 8+. The display quality itself is excellent - "I found the display a noticeable, and greatly pleasurable, advance over my iPhone 7, whether watching The Big Sick, streaming a live football game, or simply swiping through Instagram".

E Ink finds a successful niche with conference room signage

E Ink, the most (and pretty much only) e-paper technology, has been used for years as the display of choice for e-readers. Following the stagnation of the e-reader market, E Ink Holding is struggling to find more application for its e-Paper displays, with initial success in electronic shelf labels and signage applications.

JOAN Premium image

Low-power digital display solution provider Visionect has developed a conference room management system based on E Ink displays, which they call the JOAN meeting room scheduling solution. This is a wireless and battery-powered device that is easily installed (no cables required) and that provides a beautiful and useful solution.

SmartKem's CEO explains the company's OTFT tech and the future of flexible OLED production

Steve Kelly (SmartKem)UK-based SmartKem is developing a new class of flexible high-mobility p-type semiconductor inks for flexible displays. The company recently made headlines as it started its commercialization phase and announces advances in its collaboration projects with OLED producers in Asia.

SmartKem's CEO and founder, Steve Kelly, was kind enough to answer a few questions we had on SmartKem's technology and business. Steve is an international business professional with more than 20 years’ experience specializing in technology ventures, particularly early stage. He has extensive experience in Intellectual Property exploitation, VC funding and launching new technology to market.

Q: Steve, thank you for your time and for this interview. Can you first give us an overview of SmartKem’s OTFT technology?

SmartKem’s organic thin film transistor (OTFT) backplanes are designed for both glass and flexible displays. They are compatible with electronic paper displays (EPD), liquid crystal displays (LCD) and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technologies. Through our sophisticated modelling and simulation, they have sufficient driving capability for OLED and potentially, microOLED displays which offer increased contrast, response times and energy efficiency.

Facebook launches the affordable Oculus Go VR headset with a fast-switch LCD

Oculus (Facebook) announced its new affordable VR headset, the Oculus Go. This $199 device will launch early next year for $199 and Facebook hopes that this will be a step towards its goal to get one billion people to use its VR products.

Oculus Go launch event (LCD slide)

One of the ways that Oculus used to lower the cost of to Go headset is to switch from an OLED to an LCD. Oculus says that this is a "fast-switch LCD". It's too early to say how this display will compare to the current OLED used in the Oculus Rift. Looking at the slide above, it seems that the Go uses a single 2560x1440 LCD.

Is Samsung looking at Micro-LEDs for its next-gen premium TVs?

A report from Korea suggests that Samsung is accelerating its effort to develop a Micro-LED based TV. The company is currently focused entirely on QD-LEDs for its premium TVs but is looking for alternative technologies as it fails to increase its market share in this segment.

PlayNitride MicroLED array

Samsung is said to be looking at several alternatives - one of which is to acquire Taiwan-based PlayNitride - a deal that was first reported on OLED-Info in April 2017. Samsung aims to first use micro-LED technologies for its cinema LED screens, and then apply it to home-based TVs as well.

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