On the 4K vs OLED battle for the next premium TV technology

It seems that in the next few years (before OLED TV prices hopefully drop to a comparable level to LCDs), people wanting to buy a premium TV will have two options: 4K LCDs or FHD OLED TVs. 4K resolutions usually means 3840 × 2160 (although some offer different resolutions) - or about 4 times the pixels of FHD resolution, hence the 4K name.

4K OLED prototype (Sony)

Obviously this makes sense. The higher pixel density means smoother images. But does it really make sense? There are two main issues here: suitable content and whether you can actually tell the difference.

iSuppli sees the flexible OLED market growing from $21 million in 2013 to almost $12 billion by 2020

IHS says that they expect flexible OLED sales to reach $21.9 million in 2013 and grow quickly to almost $100 million in 2014. The flexible OLED market will continue growing at a very fast rate as it will reach almost $4 billion by 2018 and almost $12 billion by 2020.

This is a very aggressive forecast. IHS says that they expect flexible OLEDs to bring about an "unprecedented change in flat displays". Those displays will make an "innovative change in the conventional display industry structure once commercialized". The first products will be plastic-based OLEDs which are thin and durable. Rollable and foldable OLEDs are forecasted to be introduced after 2016.

LG cuts OLED TV prices in Korea (and soon in the US)

Following Samsung's curved OLED TV price cuts (Samsung's S9C currently costs $8,999 in the US), LG decided to slash their own OLED TV prices. Its curved OLED TV (the 55EA9800) will now cost 10.9 million Won (about $9,800) - down from 15 million Won (around $13,500). It is reported that the price in the US will drop to $9,999 (down from $14,999).

LG also reduced the price of the 55EM9700 55" flat-panel OLED TV in Korea to 9.9 million won (about $8,900) down from 11 million Won ($9,800). Like Samsung, LG says they want to make OLEDs affordable for more consumers.

AUO uses Corning's Lotus Glass in its new HD AMOLED panels

Corning announced today that it has been collaborating with AUO on high-performance displays, and AUO's new 5" HD720 AMOLED panels shown at Touch Taiwan use Corning's Lotus Glass. As far as I understand, they are using Corning's latest generation Lotus Glass XT.

Corning Lotus XT

AUO says they selected the Lotus Glass platform because of the glass substrate's outstanding thermal and dimensional stability, which facilitates efficient panel manufacturing during rigorous, high-temperature processing.

Panasonic's 4K OLED at IFA 2013

Some web sites are reporting that Panasonic is set to unveil a 20" 4K OLED tablet at the IFA 2013 event next week. Those sites are relying on auto-translated Japanese text. But in fact the company will not show such a tablet. In an English PR, Panasonic says they will show a 4K 20" tablet and a 4K OLED panel prototype - those are two different devices.

I'm guessing Panasonic's 4K OLED panel will be the same 56" 4K (3840x2160) OLED TV panel shown at CES 2013. This panel was made using an "all-printing" method. Sumitomo Chemical revealed that this TV prototype used the company's PLED materials. Panasonic's panel uses a substrate (probably Oxide-TFT) provided by Sony (which are actually made by AU Optronics) - as part of the two companies collaboration.

Samsung's curved OLED TV hits Europe today for €7,999

Yesterday we reported that Samsung is going to launch the KN55S9C curved OLED TV in the UK on September 5, and today Samsung said they are actually launching the OLED TV all over Europe. Starting today, Samsung will start offering the S9C in Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands and Italy - for €7,999 (around $10,500).

Samsung's OLED TV will cost a €1,000 less than LG's own 55EA9800, which is currently available in Germany only for €8,999. It seems that Samsung isn't wasting time - they actually are pushing those OLED TV. So far reviews have been very positive and hopefully this will convince Samsung to start constructing mass-production fabs.

DisplaySearch sees OLEDs leading the mobile phone display market by revenue in 2013, to reach $12.3 billion

DisplaySearch says that mobile phone display revenue will grow 55% in 2013 to $33.3 billion. The market is driven by rising smartphone display selling price and growing mobile phone shipments.

DisplaySearch also released revenue numbers per technology, and in 2013 AMOLED display will take the lead as they will account for 37% market share. LTPS LCDs will have 36.1% while a-Si LCDs will have 26.5%. Interestingly, it means that DisplaySearch estimates that mobile phone OLEDs alone will generate $12.3 billion in revenue in 2013. Earlier in 2013 they estimated that the whole OLED market will reach $11 billion in 2013. It's good to see them raise their estimates now!

Samsung Exec confirms Note 3 and smart-watch launch on September 4

According to the Korea Times, a Samsung executive (mobile VP Lee Young-hee) confirmed that the company will launch two new products on September 4 - the Galaxy Note 3 and the smartwatch Samsung has been working on for some time (which some say will be called the Galaxy Gear).

Galaxy Note IIGalaxy Note II

We already knew the the Galaxy Note 3 will launch on September 4, but it's good to hear another confirmation. The Galaxy Gear, according to Young-hee, will not feature a flexible OLED display (which isn't surprising as Samsung will only start producing the panels in November and in limited capacity).

HDGuru says Samsung's curved OLED TV is better than LG's

Now that both LG and Samsung are shipping 55" curved OLED TVs in the US, we can expect several reviews that compare these two TVs. The first one comes from HDguru via NBC News. They like both TVs saying that they provide an image superior to any LCD or plasma TV they ever tested - but Samsung's OLED TV is better than LG's (and it's cheaper by 40%, too).

Samsung's KN55S9C was found to be brighter than the LG 55EA9800. LG's TV also suffered from dimming of test signals and stuck sub-pixels. Surprisingly, both TVs suffered from motion blur, but Samsung offers a special mode (Clear Motion) which inserts black frames between live frames. This removes the blur (but lowers the brightness).

Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters