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. 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 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.
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' 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.
AU Optronics has been developing OLED ink-jet technologies for many years, according to reports, and has setup a 3.5-Gen pilot ink-jet OLED printing line. Today AUO announced that the company is going to showcase its first ink-jet printed OLED panel at Touch Taiwan 2019.
AUO will demonstrate a 17.3" 4K (225 PPI) OLED display that was produced using an ink-jet printing process. AUO says that the display features a 120Hz refresh rate, a wide color gamut and high brightness (that AUO did not yet specify). AUO will also showcase 5.6" foldable OLEDs that can be folded inwards or outwards for customized design according to client requirements. The display's folding radius is 4 mm and it can be folded over 200,000 times. AUO will also demonstrate a 12.1" LTPS Micro-LED prototype, which seems to be the same one shown in 2018.
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.