What is an OLED?
OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) is an emerging display technology that enables displays that offer better image quality and are thinner and more efficient than current LED and LCD displays. OLED TVs deliver the best picture quality ever, and in the future will also become flexible, rollable and transparent.
What is a 4K OLED TV?
A 4K OLED TV (also called UHD OLED TV) is an OLED TV that features a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels. While especially useful for large TV panels, 4K has gained in popularity and is now being offered on all premium TVs.
OLED is still a relatively premium technology - and all OLED TVs released from 2016 forward support 4K resolution. The entire LG's 2018 OLED TV lineup support 4K resolution - the flagship Wallpaper OLEDW8 (which attaches to the wall using magnets), the high-end OLED-on-glass OLEDG8 and OLEDE8, the basic OLEDC8 and the entry level OLEDB8.
LG Display is the only OLED panel producer, but it ships its panel to over a dozen TV makers, not just LG Electronics. All of these TVs also support 4K resolution - including the ones from Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Skyworth and more.
The latest 4K OLED news:
In early 2019 LG Electronics announced the world's first rollable OLED TV, the 65" Signature OLED TV R and the 88" 8K Z9 OLED TV. Today LGE announced that it plans to start shipping both TVs in the second half of 2019, in Korea. LG did not disclose the price of these two high-end TVs.
The rollable and 88" OLED TVs will be highly expensive - these are high-end premium products. LG Electronics did however say that as it shipped over 4 million OLED TVs since the first one shipped in March 2013, OLED TVs are now "crossing the chasm" and are starting to be adopted by the mainstream market and not only early adopters.
In February 2019 Samsung Display started to mass produce its new 15.6" 3840x2160 OLED display panels, and finally we have the first laptop to ship with such a panel - Dell is now offering its 2019 Alienware m15 laptop. The 15.6" OLED display is a $350 extra compared to the regular 15.6" FHD LCD (according to Digitimes, the price gap between these two displays should have been closer to $60).
SDC is targeting premium laptops, as these ultra high resolution panels are optimized for gaming, graphic design and video streaming. At CES we saw three companies that announced 15" OLED laptops - HP with its Spectre x360, Lenovo with the Yoga C730 and Dell with the XPS 15, Dell G7 15 and the Alienware m15 which is indeed now shipping.
In February 2019 Samsung Display started production its new 15.6" UHD (3840x2160) OLED laptop display panels. SDC is targeting premium laptops, as these ultra high resolution panels are optimized for gaming, graphic design and video streaming.
Samsung already signed up a few customers - including HP with its Spectre x360, Lenovo with the Yoga C730 and Dell with the XPS 15, Dell G7 15 and the Alienware m15. According to a new report from Taiwan's Digitimes, Samsung is aggressively seeking new customers for its OLED laptop displays - and the company has pricing its 15.6" OLEDs at only $50-60 above comparable LCD displays.
Sony launched its Xperia 1, the world's first 4K OLED smartphone, at MWC 2019, and the company did not yet disclose the price or release date. Amazon now lists this new smartphone, with a $999.99 price tag (for the 128GB model). The shipping date is set at December 2019, but this is likely just a placeholder as Sony said it will ship the phone towards the end of spring (at around May).
The Xperia 1 features a tall 6.5-inch 21:9 3840x1664 AMOLED "CinemaWide" display which supportss HDR (BT.2020). The Xperia 1 also features a Snapdragon 855 chipset, 6GB of RAM, 64/128 GB of storage, a microSD slot and a triple camera. The phone is also waterproof (IP68) and it has a fingerprint sensor on the side.
Panasonic officially announced its complete 2019 OLED TV lineup - which includes four TVs. All of Panasonic's 2019 TVs are available in 55" and 65" and feature Panasonic's "ultra-powerful" HCX PRO Intelligent processor, HDR, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HLG, HLG photo and are fine tuned by Hollywood colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld.
The four models are the GZ950, GZ1000, GZ1500 and GZ2000. The GZ950 is the "entry-level" model, while the the GZ2000 is Panasonic's flagship TV which offers an "extremely high image quality and color accuracy" and very high end audio. Interestingly the GZ2000 uses a "bespoke Professional Edition 4K OLED panel exclusively customized by Panasonic R&D engineers". The panels are WRGB AMOLEDs made by LGD.
LG Display had an impressive booth at CES 2019, show off the company's latest display technologies - and most of these were OLED displays, of course. LGD sent us this nice video that shows the main displays at their booth:
The video shows LG's flower OLED installation made up from four curved 65" OLED TV panels, the 88" Crystal-Sound-OLED (CSO) panel with the built-in speaker, LG's new 65" Crystal-Motion OLED (which features an MPTR of 3.5 ms - the world's fastest according to LGD) and finally LG's latest 55" transparent OLED panels.
Samsung Display announced that it will start mass producing its new 15.6" UHD (3840x2160) OLED display panels in February 2019. SDC is targeting premium laptops, as these ultra high resolution panels are optimized for gaming, graphic design and video streaming.
At CES we saw three companies that announced 15" OLED laptops - HP with its Spectre x360, Lenovo with the Yoga C730 and Dell with the XPS 15, Dell G7 15 and the Alienware m15. It is likely that at least some of these laptops will start shipping in March 2019 when SDC can start supplying the panels.
China-based Hisense announced a new technology that the company says will enable its LCDs to compete with OLEDs in high contrast. The so-called ULED XD panels use two LCDs panels, on on top of the other. The inner LCD is a monochrome (geyscale) FHD LCD that is used to block the light on low brightness images, and on top of it is the usual 4K full-color LCD.
This is basically a way to achieve a high number of 'local dimming' zones for an LCD display (over 2 million such zones, in fact). The TV itself is very bright (over 2,900 nits) and reportedly offers a great image quality and an almost perfect contrast. HiSense it will release its first ULED XD TVs later this year in China. Apparently SkyWorth is also demonstrating a similar technology at CES.
Razer unveiled two new laptop concepts at CES, based on the company's 15" Razer Blade laptop. One of the concepts spots a 4K touch OLED display (the second used a 240Hz FHD LCD).
Razer says that the OLED display delivers "amazing color, deep blacks, and efficient performance". The company did not disclose if and when it aims to release this as an actual product.
Sony announced its 2019 TV range, with two new OLED TVs. First up is the Master-Series A9G, that offers "consumer reference-quality image" and features Sony's X1 Ultimate Picture Processor, Pixel Contrast Booster and an automated calibration mode (including a dedicated mode for Netflix).
The A9G will be available in 55", 65" and 77". The Android TV features Sony's Acoustic Surface Audio - which means that the TV stand doubles as a high end speaker.