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

DSCC sees the OLED material market growing from $1 billion in 2018 to over $2 billion in 2022

DSCC analysts say that OLED stack materials will grow from $1.04 billion in 2018 to over $2 billion in 2022 - a CAGR of 17%.

OLED material revenue by application (2017-2023, DSCC)

DSCC says that up until now it greatly underestimated Novaled's revenues, and it now says that Novaled generated revenues of $97 million in 2017 and $122 million in 2018. Novaled is the third largest OLED material company by revenue - following Universal Display and Merck. The three companies combined will hold a market share of 56% in 2023.

AVC: OLED TV sales in China to reach 800,000 units in 2020, as China is set to become the world's largest market for OLED TVs

China-based All View Cloud consultancy says that OLED TV sales in China will reach 380,000 units in 2019, (up from 210,000 in 2018 and 120,000 in 2017) and will rise to 800,000 units in 2020. By 2021 or 2021 the sales will surpass 2 million units - which will make China the world's largest market for OLED TVs.

LG 2019 ThinQ AI OLED TV ad

According to AVC, Skyworth is leading the Chinese OLED TV market with 46% of total OLED sales in 2017, followed by LG (16%) and Sony (14.9%). The penetration of OLED TVs in China is relatively low, compared to the US, Europe and Japan and there's much room for growth.

Transparent OLEDs Market Report

LG Display to start producing OLED TVs in its Guangzhou 8.5-Gen fab next month

In July 2017, LG Display announced its plans to build a 8.5-Gen (2200x2500) OLED TV production line in Guangzhou, China. Following many delays, LGD got the approval for its new OLED TV fab from both the Korean and Chinese governments in July 2018 and started constructing the fab, with an investment of about $4.2 billion.

LGD Guangzhou OLED TV fab render

Today LG Display announced that the Guangzhou will start production in August 2019. The fab will begin with test runs in July but it seems that LGD is confident that mass production will begin next month. The initial capacity of this new fab will be 60,000 monthly substrates, which will bring LGD's total OLED TV capacity to 130,000 monthly 8.5-Gen substrates (i.e. will almost double its current capacity).

OLED production in Korea could be halted by the end of July due to Japan's restriction of free exports

A few days ago we reported on Japan's government decision to restrict some material exports, including fluorinated polyimide, to South Korea, following a diplomatic tension between the two countries.

Samsung W2019 photo

Polyimide is required for OLED production, and Japan controls about 90% of the world's production. According to a new report from Korea, Samsung and other companies have warned the Korean government that production in some plants could be halted as early as by the end of July if these materials are not available. It is not clear what is the situation of Samsung's (and LG's) OLED production.

Will LG Electronics replace LGD with BOE as its OLED supplier?

According to a new report from Korea, LG Electronics is in talks with China-based BOE to supply OLED panels for future smartphones -and replace LGE's current supplier - it's sister company LG Display.

LG V50 ThinQ 5G photo

The report suggests two reasons for LG's talk with BOE. First is LG's drive to cut costs as its mobile phone business is losing massive amounts of money. The second reason is that LG Display cannot supply enough panels for LG Electronics as it still struggles with low production yields.

LG Display's OLED TV panels received TÜV Rheinland's Eye Comfort Display certification

LG Display announced that its OLED TV panels received an Eye Comfort Display certification from TÜV Rheinland, a global leader in independent inspection services.

LG Display OLED TV TUV Rheinland photo

LG Display says that its 65" OLED TVs emit 34% light, lower than TUV's 50% threshold. LGD says that the highest-spec 65" LCD panels emit 64% blue light. LGD's OLED TV panels met all of TUV's testing criteria and scored 0.87% in the light reflection category, which is half of that of LCD panels.

Japan to restrict exports of some materials to Korea, could effect OLED production

Japan's government decided to restrict some material exports to South Korea. The restricted materials are fluorinated polyimide, resist - and high-purity hydrogen fluoride. Japan is the world's leader in production of these materials (about 90% of fluorinated polyimide and resist) which makes it difficult for producers to find alternatives.

These restrictions could mean that both Samsung and LG Display may find it difficult to keep OLED production at its current level. Both companies have accumulated a large stock of these materials, but if these restrictions hold up for a long time this could be a problem for the South Korean OLED makers (and a boon for Chinese OLED makers, of course).

IHS: Ink-Jet printing to finally become a mass production OLED production process in 2020

IHS says that ink-jet printing of OLED displays is finally ready to enter mass production in 2020. Production will begin at a rate of around 105,000 yearly substrates (209,000 sqm) in 2020, but will grow 12-fold within 4 years to reach 1.3 million yearly substrates in 2024 (or 7.3 million sqm).

OLED TV production cost comparison (IHS, WOLED vs IJP, June 2019)

The first producer to begin mass production using ink-jet printing will be JOLED who will enter mass production in 2020 (it already produces panels but at very low volume). OLED makers in China will quickly follow JOLED with mass production investments starting in 2020 or 2021.

LG says its V50 ThinQ 5G pOLED smartphone is off to a great start in Korea

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.

LG V50 ThinQ 5G photoThe 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.

Dell: the Alienware 55" gaming monitor is a real product, will launch in Q4 2019

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.

The 4th International TADF Workshop 2019The 4th International TADF Workshop 2019