Article last updated on: Jan 17, 2019

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.

LG OLEDW8 photoLG 2018 OLEDW8

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. LG is also developing next-generation OLED TV technologies, and has recently demonstrated a 65" rollable TV.

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 Flexible OLEDs for mobile devices

LG currently produces flexible OLEDs (branded as pOLEDs), for both wearable devices and smartphones. LG is the exclusive supplier of AMOLED displays for Apple's Watch smartwatch and it also supplies OLED displays for smartphones - such as the 6.4" 1440x3120 notch-type pOLED used in LG Electronics's V40 ThinQ, introduced in October 2018 and the 6" QHD+ display used by Sony in its Xperia XZ3 flagship. Click here for more information on LG's pOLED displays and its production capabilities.

LG V40 ThinQ photo

LG Transparent OLEDs

LG are also working on transparent OLEDs. In 2014 LGD unveiled a 18" transparent OLED prototype, and later in 2016 LGD demonstrated transparent 55" FHD AMOLED display prototypes. These panels are not yet in production, but hopefully LG will start producing these eventually.

LG OLED Light

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.

LG Chem truly flexible OLED lighting panel photo

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.

Further reading

Latest LG OLED news

LGD considers shutting down its E2 OLED production line due to the company's financial problems

LG Display is currently producing flexible AMOLED displays for Apple's smartwatches in its E2 4.5-Gen line in Paju. The company hasn't been able to improve its financials as LCD prices are under pressure, and following a recent managerial shuffle, it is now reported that LGD is considering shutting down its E2 line.

Apple Watch Series 5 photo

The E2 production capacity is around 20,000 substrates per month, but it is less economical than LG's larger OLED lines, the E5 and E6 lines which are 6-Gen lines. LG will reportedly move production from its E2 line to its larger lines.

Solas files a lawsuit against Apple saying it infringes upon its OLED patents

Ireland-based OLED IP company Solas OLED has filed a lawsuit in the US (Texas) against Apple for patent infringements. The lawsuit mentions three patents (USPTO# 6072450, 7446338 and 7573068) that relate to the OLED stack, structure and circuitry (for example one of the patents relates to the formation of a backplane on a polyimide substrate).

Solas OLED team photo

Apple is of course not the producer of the OLED displays - but Solas says that Apple is accused of "making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing products that infringe the claims" of its patents. Apple's OLED suppliers are Samsung (for the iPhone and MacBook Pro Touch bar devices) and LG Display (for the Apple Watch display).

OLED Handbook

LG launches its 88" 8K OLEDZ9 in the US, priced at $29,999

LG announced that it is starting to ship its 88" 8K flagship OLED Z9 TV in the US, with a price of $29,999. The OLED88Z9 is based on LG'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.

LG OLED Z9 photo

The Signature OLED Z9 features HDMI 2.1 which enables 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 Display starts to use Korean-made hydrogen fluoride in its OLED fabs as Japan restricts exports

In July 2019 Japan's government decided to restrict some material exports to South Korea, following a diplomatic tension between the two countries. One of the materials Japan restricted is hydrogen fluoride which is used in OLED production as an etching gas and cleaning fluid.

LG OLED C9 photo

According to a new report in Korea, as the OLED industry does not require an extremely high purity hydrogen fluoride and LG has been able to quickly find a source for this gas in Korea. It already started to use the Korean material in production - and aims to source 100% of its hydrogen fluoride from Korean vendors.

LG delays the launch of its rollable OLED TV

In early 2019 LG Electronics announced the world's first rollable OLED TV, the 65" Signature OLED TV R. The company later announced that it will ship the TV in the second half of 2019, but now LG is delaying the launch of its signature rollable OLED TV.

LG Signature OLED TV R photo

LG says that the OLED TV R will ship in Korea in "2019 or 2020", but that consumers elsewhere will have to wait longer - which probably means it does not have any plans to release it before 2021. According to TechRadar, the main reason is that LG is highly expensive and LG fears that it will be difficult to find a market outside of Korea for such a premium TV.

Here is Skyworth's 88" 8K OLED TV prototype

In January 2019 during CES Skyworth demonstrated a 88" 8K (7680x4320) OLED TV prototype, in addition to other OLED technologies. We have posted a photo of the Skyworth 88" OLED, but today this nice video from our friend Charbax was published that shows Skyoworth's CES booth, starting with the 88" OLED:

The TV uses a 88" 8K pane made by LG Display, as used in its own OLED Z9 OLED TV which is now entering the market.

Philips launches its 2019/2020 Ambilight OLED TV range

Philips announced its 2019/2020 TV range, with three OLED TVs at the top of its line. All of Philips' new OLED TVs support Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and all feature its Ambilight surround LED Lighting feature. All the TVs use LGD's WRGB OLED TV panels, of course.

Philips 55OLED754 photo

Philips' entry-level 2019-2020 OLED TV is the OLED+754, which features a 55" or 65" panel and are based on the Saphi Smart TV platform which includes built-in Alexa support. The OLED+754 is now shipping in Europe, the price in the UK is £1,500 for the 55" model and £2,300 for the 65" model.

LG announces its 8.5-Gen OLED TV fab in Guangzhou is now in production

LG Display announced today that it started producing OLED TV panels at its 8.5-Gen OLED fab in Guangzhou, China. LG's new fab will have a monthly capacity of 60,000 substrates, which will be expanded to 90,000 by 2021.

LG Display 8.5-gen OLED TV fab in Guangzhou, China

LG says that by 2022, it will enable LGD to produce over 10 million OLED TV panels per year by 2022 - in its 8.5-gen fabs in Guangzhou and Paju, Korea (70,000 substrates per months) and its 10.5-Gen fab that it is now building in Paju. IHS expects LG to ship 5.5 million OLED TVs in 2020, 7.1 million in 2021 and over 10 million in 2022. In 2019 LG expects to ship 3.8 million units.

DSCC sees LCD investments drying up in 2023, as the display industry shifts to OLED production

DSCC updated its display equipment spending forecast, and the company now expects LCD spending to stop completely in 2023 - as all new production lines from 2023 forward will be producing OLED displays (DSCC does not include other display technologies in this report, such as QDEL, e-paper and Micro-LEDs).

Display production equipment spending, OLED vs LCD (2016-2024, DSCC)

2019 will see 26% decrease in spending from 2018, with OLED spending down 64%. DSCC sees a rebound in 2020, where OLED spending will jump 132% due to new mobile flexible OLED lines in China.

Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters