OLED is an emerging display technology that uses thin films of organic materials to make efficient, thin and high quality displays. OLED panels can made flexible, rollable and transparent. Korea's LG is at the forefront of OLED development and production - as the world's only OLED TV producer and a leading developer of flexible OLED and OLED lighting panels. LG's subsidiary LG Display is responsible for OLED R&D and panel production, while LG Electronics produces and markets OLED TVs.
LG OLED TVs
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).
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.
While the basic OLED TV design uses RGB OLED sub-pixels to create each 'pixel' (what is referred to as direct emission OLED, the design used in mobile OLED displays used in Samsung's and Apple's smartphones, for example), LG Display opted for a different OLED TV design. The so-called WRGB (or WOLED-CF) architecture uses four white OLED subpixels with color filters on top (hence W+RBG). The WRGB technology (developed by Kodak and now owned by LG Display) is much easier to produce and scale-up, even though it has some technical disadvantages - and it is the technology that enabled LG to be the first company to actually produce commercial OLED TV panels.
LG Display is developing and producing OLED lighting panels, and the company is one of the leaders in OLED lighting. The company produces several panels, including flexible OLED panels and high efficiency panels. In December 2017 LG started mass production at its new 5-Gen OLED lighting fab in Gumi, Korea.
The 5-Gen line has an initial capacity of 15,000 substrates per month - about 30 times the capacity of LG's previous 2-Gen line that had a monthly capacity of 4,000 substrates. LG hopes that the new line will enable it to produces OLED lighting panels at a much lower cost (initial estimates suggested a 95% cost reduction!) which it hopes will trigger the widespread adoption of OLED lighting globally.
LG Electronics announced that its latest smartphone, the V50 ThinQ 5G is off to a great start, having sold 100,000 units in Korea in the first week following its launch. LGE says that this is more than four times than the sales of its V40 smartphone.
The V50 ThinQ 5G sports a 6.4" 1440x3120 pOLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and a microSD slot. LG's first 5G smartphone also offers a triple camera setup.
At CES 2019, Alienware demonstrated a gaming monitor that uses a 55" 4K 120Hz OLED display. This monitor supports 4K at 120Hz using the new HDMI v2.1 connection (also supported by LG's latest 2019 OLED TVs).
Earlier this week we reported that Alienware has not plans to actually launch this product - but according to PCGamer, a Dell spokesman says that the company is definitely going to release it - at Q4 2019 in "selected markets". This is good news for many gamers who were looking forward to this exciting (but probably highly expensive) monitor.
According to a new report from Korea, LG display has actually started to install some of the Oxide-TFT deposition equipment (supplied by Applied Materials and Jusung Engineering) earlier than it first planned. LGD's original plan was to install this equipment in early 2020. The mass production at the P10 fab is expected to begin in 2021.
In January 2019, Alienware demonstrated a gaming monitor that uses a 55" 4K 120Hz OLED display. This monitor supports 4K at 120Hz using the new HDMI v2.1 connection (also supported by LG's latest 2019 OLED TVs).
Alienware now updates that it is not ready to launch this monitor yet as it is still a "conceptual product" and that its "potential commercial viability is still in question". The company did say that if the product progresses, it will make an announcement at CES 2020. This will be a premium product with a price tag of over $3,000.
UBI Research estimates that OLED production capacity will increase from 34.9 million sqm to 68.5 million by 2023. LG Display and Samsung Display are expected to increase production of OLED TV and introduce new 10.5-Gen fabs better suited for 65" TV production.
Mobile OLED production capacity will also grow, but at a slower rate - from 13 million sqm in 2019 to 19.3 million sqm in 2023, mainly driven by Chinese OLED producers that produce flexible smartphone OLED displays mainly for the Chinese domestic market. Korean OLED producers (SDC and LGD) will continue to dominate the market and will retain their ~80% market share in 2023.
It is now reported in China that LG Display confirmed it is developing a 48" OLED TV panel and plans to start producing these in 2020 - which could mean that the TV themselves will hit the stores in 2020 - but this could also mean that they will arrive only in 2021.
According to a report from Korea, LG Display has halted production at one of its production lines at its E6 production fab, LG's 6-Gen flexible OLED line that commenced production at the end of 2018.
According to the report, the problem lies with LGD's thin film encapsulation equipment - specifically the equipment that deposited the organic particles - which apparently suffers from sub par performance, not good enough for commercial production. LG is using equipment made by its subsidiary LG PRI in the E6-1 line, which is now halted.
In early 2019 LG announced its first 88" 8K OLED TV panel, the OLED Z9, and the company now finally announced the pricing and availability of its flagship 2019 OLED TV.
LG Electronics will start accepting pre-orders for the OLED88Z9K in Korea in June. The regular price of the TV is around $42,000 (!) in Korea, but pre-orders will enjoy a discount (to $34,000) and a free air purifier to boot. LG did not disclose when the TVs will actually ship, but it did say that they will go on sale in Europe and the US in Q3 2019 (i.e. July to September).