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.
As was reported last month, LG Electronics announced its first rollable TV (and the world's first rollable OLED devices), the 65" Signature OLED TV R. LG's new TV can roll up into its base, and has three viewing options - full view, line view and zero view. In Line View, there are six different modes, in which the TV can show the weather, the time, a home dashboard and more.
LG's OLED TV R, like the rest of LG's 2019 OLED range, is based on the company's 2nd-gen Alpha 9 intelligent processor the enables LG's ThinQ AI to offer new display algorithms and Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant. The TV also features HDMI 2.1, high frame rate (HFR) support, enhanced audio return channel (eARC), variable refresh rate (VRR) and automatic low latency mode (ALLM). LG's flagship OLED also feature Dolby Atmos for immersive entertainment.
LG Electronics announced its OLED TV lineup for 2019. LG's new OLED TVs will be powered by the company's 2nd-gen Alpha 9 intelligent processor and will offer its ThinQ AI. LG says that the new OLEDs will offer better image quality and sound quality based on the new AI capabilities and new algorithms. All the new TVs will also offer new implementation of Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant.
The top of the range will be the Z9 OLED TV based on LGD's latest large 8K 88" OLED panel. There's a new wallpaper model, the OLED W9, the midrange OLED E9 and the new OLED C9 which is LG's entry level OLED TV model.
LG Display announced the OLED displays it will demonstrate at CES 2019, starting on Tuesday January 8th. We already know that LG Electronics will launch a 88" 8K OLED TV (the OLED Z9) but now LGD says it will demonstrate a 88" Crystal Sound OLED (CSO) panel - which has a sound system built into the panel (which acts as the membrane).
LGD will also unveil a 65" 8K OLED - which you can see in the image above.
According to reports, LG Electronics is set to launch its 8K 88" OLED TV in 2019, and the company will unveil its flagship OLED TV in CES 2019. The 88" TV model number will be OLEDZ9, and like all of LG's 2019 OLED TVs (or at least the high-end ones) it will be based on the company's new Alpha 9 Gen-2 processor and will support HDMI 2.1 and VRR.
In 2017, we heard reports that LGD decided to cancel the LCD production at the P10 fab and focus exclusively on OLED displays. A new report from Business Korea confirms this report - and says that LG also decided to postpone the production at the P10 as the shift to OLED technologies is challenging - especially as LGD intends to produce OLEDs on 10.5-Gen substrates for the first time at the P10 fab.
LGD's largest customer is LG Electronics, but the company is also enjoying strong sales to Japanese TV makers. The Nikkei Asian Review says that in 2018 the company will ship 500,000 panels to Sony and 200,000 to Panasonic, and next year it expects to increase its shipments to Sony to 850,000 units and to Panasonic to 300,000 units. LG Electronics OLED TV market share will be around 50-60% in 2019.
In CES 2018, LG Electronics demonstrated its 65" rollable OLED TV prototype, showing how such a display can be used to create a TV that rolls into its base. Last month we reported that LG plans to showcase its rollable TV again at CES 2019, and now Bloomberg reports that LG aims to actually release this TV as a commercial product in 2019, citing "a person familiar with the matter".
Korea ETNews now reports that LG Display started to install the production equipment in the Guangzhou fab. LG Display's new fab will have a capacity of 90,000 monthly 8.5-Gen substrates (2200x2500 mm), using two production lines. The equipment in the first line (with a capacity of 60,000 monthly substrates) was already installed, and LGD will soon (H1 2019) start ordering and installing the equipment in the second line as well.