Article last updated on: Aug 11, 2019

What is an OLED TV?

OLED TVs use a display technology called OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) that enables displays that are brighter, more efficient, thinner, flexible and with higher contrast and faster refresh rates than either LCD. Simply put, OLED TVs deliver the best picture quality ever!

LG EG9600 photo

OLED TV technology

Each pixel in an OLED TV emits light on its own (in fact each pixel is made from 3 different OLEDs, red, green and blue). OLEDs are truly emissive devices with a simple design which gives them many advantages over current LCD technology:

  • Much higher contrast: in OLEDs we have true blacks as when a pixel is off it does not emit any light. In LCDs, the backlighting is always on and so true blacks are impossible to achieve. Even with high-end local dimming, the contrast of LCDs is simply no match for OLEDs.
  • Higher refresh rates: OLEDs can switch on and off much faster than LCDs.
  • Better power consumption: OLEDs only consume light on lit pixels - as opposed to LCDs who always need to use the backlighting. The power consumption of OLEDs depends on the image shown, but in most cases OLEDs will be more efficient than LCDS.
  • Flexibility: the simple design of OLEDs enables next-generation flexible, bendable, foldable and even rollable displays. LG's amazing 65" rollable TV unveiled in 2019 would be very difficult to create (if not impossible!) using an LCD panel.

Click here for a more in-depth comparison between LCDs and OLEDs.

OLED TVs on the market - what can you buy today?

As of 2019, the only company that produces produces OLED TV panels is LG Display - making 55" to 88" OLEDs that offer the best image quality possible today. LGD is offering its OLED panels to many companies, including LG Electronics, Sony, Panasonic and many other companies.

LG 2019 ThinQ AI OLED TV ad



LG's 2019 OLED TV line includes:

As of April 2019, LG is now shipping the OLEDC9 TVs - the 55" model costs $2,499 and the 65" model costs $3,499. The 77" model costs $6,999 and will ship in May 2019. LG is also shipping the higher-end OLEDE9 TVs - the 65" costs $4,299 while the 55" costs $3,299. You can still buy the LG's 2018 OLED TV lineup which includes the flagship Wallpaper OLEDW8 the high-end OLED-on-glass OLEDG8 and OLEDE8, the basic OLEDC8 and the entry level OLEDB8.

LG OLEDE9 photo

Sony's OLED TVs, based on the company's Android OS platform, are also very popular. Sony currently offers the high-end AF9 and AF8. Sony started shipping the AF8 TVs in April 2018 and - the 55" model currently costs $2,300 while the 65" one costs $3,000 (note: affiliate links to Amazon). In early 2019 Sony launched its new 2019 OLED TVs -

  • The Master-Series A9G with its "consumer reference-quality image" (panel sizes 55, 65 and 77 inch)
  • The A8G - which also offers high quality images and Sony's Acoustic Surface Audio

Other companies that produce OLED TVs include Panasonic, Grundig, Philips, Metz, Loewe, Skyworth, Changhong, Haier, Konka and more.

For a complete list of OLED TVs, click here.

Reviews of OLED TVs are terrific, and most experts and consumers agree that these OLED TVs are the best TVs ever produced - with virtually perfect image quality and beautiful form factors.

In August 2013, Samsung launched an OLED TV as well, the KN55S9C, that used Samsung's own OLED TV panels. Samsung stopped producing and marketing the S9C OLED TVs soon afterwards and is currently focused on quantum-dot enhanced LCDs. The company's next generation OLED TVs, however, will be based on the company's unique QD-OLED technology - but perhaps Micro-LED will be Samsung's future TV display technology of choice).

Direct Emission vs WRGB

The most straightforward OLED architecture uses 3 color OLED sub-pixels (Red, Green and Blue) to create each 'pixel'. This is referred to as a direct emission OLED, and is the design used in mobile OLED displays (for example those in Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Apple's iPhone X.

For its OLED TVs, however, LG Display is using a different architecture, called WRGB (or WOLED-CF) which uses four white OLED subpixels (each created by using both blue and yellow OLED emitters) with color filters on top (RBG and W). The WRGB technology (developed by Kodak and now owned by LG Display) was found to be easier to scale-up for large-area OLED production, although it suffers from lower efficiency and more complicated design.

Rollable and transparent OLED televisions

Like we said before, OLEDs can be made flexible, or transparent. Flexible OLEDs have been in production for a long time, and in 2019 LG will release the world's first rollable TV, its 65" Signature OLED TV R!

LG Signature OLED TV R photo

Both LG and Samsung also demonstrated large 55" transparent and mirror OLED prototypes, and LGD already demonstrated 77" rollable and transparent OLED panels, which it plans to commercialize by 2020. While the market demand for transparent OLEDs is not certain, this is an exciting technology that hopefully will reach the market in the future!

Samsung Display 55'' transparent OLED photo

Further reading

The latest OLED TV news:

LG: our latest OLED TVs are much more entertaining than an LCD TV from 6 years ago

LG Electronics performed an interesting test comparing an OLED TV to an LCD LED TV to analyse the physical and emotional responses of viewers. The test was done on identical twins in the UK (Henry and William Wade), which viewed a Game of Thrones episode on LG's OLEDE9 TV and an 2013 LG LCD LED TV.

LG used Realeye's AI platform to analyse the facial expressions, head movements and body language of the twins, in addition to their hear rate. LG says that the test revealed that its OLED TV held 25% more attention than its 2013 TV, and that happiness was three times higher. The LG OLED TV provided a 15% more intense experience from a positive emotional standpoint.

IHS: strong demand for OLED TVs helped LG become the leading premium TV vendor in Europe

IHS Markit says that LG Electronics is the leading European premium TV (over $2,500 in cost) vendor, with a market share of 33.3% in revenues and 38.7% in sales in Q1 2019. LG's strong OLED TV sales helped it increase its market share up from 22.9% (revenues) in 2018.

LG OLED C9 photo

Samsung is the second European TV maker, with a market share of 25.2% (down from 42% in 2018). Sony's market share increased to 25.5% (up from 21.5%). Together Sony, LG and Samsung took up 84.1% of the market.

Canvas announces a high TV speaker for LG's OLED B and C series

New high-end audio company Canvas released a new large speaker for LG's OLED TVs (supporting the flat OLEDB and OLEDC models, from 2016 to 2019). The Canvas provides high quality sound and also doubles as a stand for the TVs.

The Canvas connects to LG's OLEDs via HDMI-ARC or via an optical cable, and it also supports wireless audio connectivity. Canvas is launching a crowdfunding campaign, where the 55" model will cost $999 while the 65" model will cost $1,099.

Samsung Display's CEO confirms SDC will launch QD-OLEDs in the near future

Samsung has been developing its QD-OLED TV technology for a long time, but the company did not yet commit to actual production. Now Samsung Display's CEO officially announced that the company is "making good efforts" to launch QD-OLED panels in the "near future".

QD-OLED stack scheme (DSCC, Oct-2018)

SDC has decided to shut down on of its 8.5-Gen LCD lines in Asan Korea, which will be converted to QD-OLED production in the future.

LG's C9 OLED TV wins HTDVTest's 2019 TV shootout

HDTVTest, together with Crampton & Moore, organized the 2019 TV shootout, to find out what's the best TV of 2019. The test included four 65-inch TVs - LG OLED65C9, Panasonic 65GZ2000, Samsung 65Q90R, and Sony's 65A9G. The reference display was Sony's BVM-X300 OLED mastering monitor.

The audience (38 AV enthusiasts) chose LG's OLEDC9 as the best TV of 2019, followed by Panasonic's GZ2000. OLED TVs were the best in all categories, except the bright-room performance, for which Samsung won first place with its high brightness.

LG Display to double its transparent OLED display production by the end of 2019

In February 2019 LG Display started producing its 55" FHD transparent commercial OLED displays, and now the company says it plans to double its transparent OLED production in Q4 2019 - and continue to ramp up production years to come. LGD sees possible applications in shop windows, building façades and exhibition spaces.

LG Display is also working with partners such as Planar - who recently announced its 2nd-Gen LookThru (LO552) OLED displays.

LG to start offering open cell OLED TV panels from its Guangzhou fab

According to a report from Korea, LG Display is discussing the sale of open-cell OLED panels with TV makers, including China-based Skyworth. The Korean's Elec suggests that LG Display will start offering open-cell OLEDs from its Guangzhou fab which is expected to start producing OLED TV panels by the end of the month.

LG OLEDG8 photo

An open-cell panel can lower the costs for TV makers as each can decide on the assembly process and driver ICs. It could also lead to more innovation and differentiation. Many LCD TV panels are sold in that fashion - but for LG's OLED this will be the first time.

LG Display reports its Q2 2019 results, to invest a further $2.5 billion in its P10 OLED TV fab

LG Display announced its unaudited financial results for Q2 2019, and updated on its upcoming OLED projects.

LGD P10 OLED fab, Paju Korea (March 2019)

First of all, LGD announced an additional investment of KRW 3 trillion ($2.5 billion) P10 10.5-Gen OLED TV fab in Paju. Last month it was reported that LG display has started to install some of the Oxide-TFT deposition equipment (supplied by Applied Materials and Jusung Engineering). The mass production at the first lines in the P10 fab is expected to begin in 2021. LG Display did not disclose any more details regarding this new $2.5 billion investment plan yet.

PlayNitride shows advanced flexible and transparent Micro-LED displays

PlayNitride demonstrated its latest Micro-LED displays at SID DisplayWeek 2019 - a 7.56" 720x480 (114 PPI) transparent MicroLED, a flexible Micro-LED on a polyimide substrate and a high-brightness, high-resolution passive matrix MicroLED aimed towards wearable applications.

PlayNitride aims to release its first Micro-LED display products by the end of 2019. In 2017 the company started to sample micro-LED panels and shipped samples to 10-20 potential customers.