OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) is a new display technology that is brighter, more efficient, thinner and feature better refresh rates and contrast than an LCD display. OLEDs deliver the best picture quality ever and are used in high-end smartphones and tablets.
The idea of an OLED monitor is exciting consumers as such a device will offer an unparalleled viewing experience and a thin form factor. But OLED monitors are not on the market yet. This article will explain the benefits, the current status and the future of OLED monitors.
Why is an OLED monitor better than an LCD one?
- OLED provide a better image quality with a much higher contrast (true blacks), wide color gamut, better viewing angles and a much faster refresh rate
- OLED panels are much thinner and lighter compared to LCD panels
- An OLED monitor would consume less power - as only lit pixels draw energy on OLED displays. An almost black screen will require very little power
- An OLED monitor could be flexible or even transparent
OLED monitors and the burn-in challenge?
Of course OLED technology is not perfect. One of the major drawbacks of an OLED display is image retention / burn-in. In an OLED display each pixel is driven independently and each pixel ages differently - the brightness is reduced with use. To put it simply - a pixel that was used a lot will be less bright than a pixel that hasn't been driven as much.
For mobile phones and TVs this is less of a problem - but in a computer user interface many UI elements are quite fixed (toolbars, icons, etc) which means that burn-in is a real problem. There are some technologies to handle this problem - for example by measurement and compensation, and the lifetime of OLED displays is improving all the time. In addition user-interface designers can design a user interface that will be more suited for OLED displays.
OLED monitors on the market
After years of waiting and seeing OLEDs adopted in a wide range of devices such as mobile phones, tablets, TVs and wearables, in early 2016 Dell announced the world's first OLED monitor, the Ultrasharp UP3017Q. This a 30" was supposed to launch in March 2016 for $4,999 - but Dell reportedly scrapped plans for this product. In April 2017, though, Dell brought the UP3017Q back and started shipping it for $3,499.
In early 2018 Asus announced its OLED monitor, the ProArt PQ22UC which features a 21.6" 3840x2160 (204 PPI) OLED display. The display is provided by JOLED using its ink-jet printing process. In March 2019 Asus started to ship the PQ22UC, starting in the UK where the price is set at for £4,529 (!) which would make the US price at around $5,000.
For the professional market, Sony is offering several monitors in several sizes (from 7.4" to 30") and in several series. Sony already sold over 15,000 professional OLED monitors, and their latest monitor is the 30" 4K BVM-X300. These are professional monitors, though, aimed for broadcasting and post production applications.
The latest OLED Monitor news:
In January 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).
Alienware now updates that it is not ready to launch this monitor yet as it is still a "conceptual product" and that its "potential commercial viability is still in question". The company did say that if the product progresses, it will make an announcement at CES 2020. This will be a premium product with a price tag of over $3,000.
Digitimes reports that AU Optronics has setup a 3.5-Gen test ink-jet OLED printing line, and the company now intends to start building a 6-Gen production line. AUO will start constructing the line before the end of 2019.
AUO's Chairman confirmed that the latest advances in printing materials and equipment are starting to make OLED printing viable for commercial use. AUO has not yet decided the schedule for volume production.
JOLED announced that it has raised 25.5 billion Yen (around $228 million USD) from INCJ, Sony and Nissha. JOLED also announced that it has started to build post-processing module production lines at its Mobara, Chiba prefecture, plant. Nissha will also collaborate with JOLED in the area of OLED touch sensors.
JOLED's printed OLED displays will be produced at the company's Nomi plant. JOLED currently uses a pilot 4.5-Gen line at Nomi, but the company has already announced plans for a new mass production 5.5-Gen line in Nomi by 2020.
DSCC says that OLED market revenues will grow from $26.5 billion in 2018 to $28.7 billion in 2019 and over $52 billion by 2023. The largest application will remain smartphone displays, but several other applications will generate over $1 billion in 2023 - TVs, tablets, notebooks and monitors. By area of production, TV displays will surpass smartphone displays in 2021.
Samsung is still (and will remain so) the dominant AMOLED display producer, even though its market share will drop from 97% in Q1 2018 to 81% in Q4 2019. In Q1 2019 Visionox surpassed LGD to become the 2nd largest AMOLED producer (but most of Visionox's panels are low-end 5.5-inch panels). DSCC expects LGD to regain its number 2 position in the second half of 2019. BOE is the third player and will remain so following its supply agreement with Huawei.
In early 2018 ASUS announced the Asus ProArt PQ22UC- a 21.6" 4K (204 PPI) ultra-portable OLED monitor, and now the company finally started shipping the new device - starting in the UK where the price is set at for £4,529 (!) which would make the US price at around $5,000.
The OLED display in ASUS' monitor produced using an ink-jet printing process by JOLED - which would make this the world's first ink-jet printed OLED product. JOLED's production capacity is not large, the company is still using a pilot-scale line, but it's likely that Asus is not expecting to sell many units of this high-end OLED monitor with that price tag...
HDTVTest posted an interesting interview with Cadmium-Free QD developer Nanosys CEO and president Jason Hartlove. In this long interview Jason discusses the company's technology and recent achievements.
Jason reveals that the company is working on emissive Quantum Dots displays - and he expects to have a full-color monitor-size QLED display prototype ready by the end of 2019. Jason says that they hope to show these display prototypes in private demos at CES 2020.
Dell announced that its premium 15" laptops will all get an optional OLED display in 2019. The Dell XPS 15, Dell G7 15 and the Alienware m15 will all offer a 15" OLED display that features HDR, a 100% DCI-P3 color gamut and 100,000:1 Contrast Ratio.
The new 15" Dell OLED laptops will start shipping in March 2019. That's great news from Dell, and it's a great start for 2019 as it seems to be poised for an OLED laptop comeback.
Earlier this month JOLED unveiled new display prototypes at FineTech Japan. Today we have received this interesting new video from JOLED that shows the displays in action:
In the video you can see all of JOLED's new prototypes. First up is the Automotive demo - JOLED demonstrated two panels, a 12.3" 1920x720 (167 PPI) panel and a 12.2" 1920x1280 (180 PPI) panel. Both are printed on LTPS backplanes (as do the rest of the company's small and medium sized panels). JOLED's latest investors, Denso and Toyoto Tsusho, are both helping the company with its entry into the automotive display market.
DSCC estimates that the AMOLED market will grow 19% in 2019 to reach $31 billion, up from $26.5 billion in 2018. OLED revenues will continue to grow and reach $48.8 billion in 2022 (a CAGR of 16%).
Looking at OLED unit shipments and area production, 2019 will see a 22% growth in unit shipments to 610 million panels and a 35% growth in area to 9 million square meters. Area shipments will grow faster than revenues as OLED selling prices will continue to decline - and as OLED TVs take up a larger share of the OLED market.
Samsung progresses with its inkjet printing OLED technology, to apply it to next-generation monitors and laptops
According to ETNews, Samsung Display has made significant progress with its OLED ink-jet printing process technology, and the company now aims to apply this technology to produce medium-sized panels for OLED laptops and OLED monitors. Samsung may also use this process to produce smaller tablet displays.
It seems that Samsung is aiming to settle on three main next-generation OLED technologies - evaporation (FMM) OLEDs for small-sized display, ink-jet OLED deposition for medium-sized panels and hybrid QD-OLEDs for large-area OLED TV panels. It's other display technologies are QD-LEDs for TVs and Micro-LEDs for next-generation small and large area displays.