Article last updated on: Sep 05, 2018

What is an OLED TV?

An OLED TV screen uses a new display technology called OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes). OLED technology enables displays that are brighter, more efficient, thinner and feature better refresh rates and contrast than either LCD or Plasma displays. Simply put, OLED TVs deliver the best picture quality ever!

LG EG9600 photo

OLED TV technology

OLED displays are made by placing thin films of organic (carbon based) materials between two conductors. When electrical current is applied, light is emitted. OLED displays are emissive and unlike LCDs, do not require a backlight (unlike LCDs). OLED TV panels offers several advantages over LCDs:

  • Faster refresh rate, better contrast (true blacks) and better color reproduction
  • Better form factor - OLED enables much thinner panels
  • Better viewing angle - almost 180 degrees
  • Efficiency - in an OLED display, only the lit pixels draw power, unlike in an LCD.)
  • OLED panels can potentially be made flexible and/or transparent - think rollable TVs!

OLED TVs on the market - what can you buy today?

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's 2018 OLED TV lineup include 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. All of these TVs are now shipping globally.

In August 2013, Samsung launched an OLED TV as well, the KN55S9C, that used Samsung's own OLED TV panels. Samsung stopped producing and marketing the S9C OLED TVs soon afterwards and is currently focused on quantum-dot enhanced LCDs (and perhaps Micro-LED will be Samsung's future TV display technology of choice).

Direct Emission vs WRGB

The most straightforward OLED architecture uses 3 color OLED sub-pixels (Red, Green and Blue) to create each 'pixel'. This is referred to as a direct emission OLED, and is the design used in mobile OLED displays (for example those in Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Apple's iPhone X.

For its OLED TVs, however, LG Display is using a different architecture, called WRGB (or WOLED-CF) which uses four white OLED subpixels (each created by using both blue and yellow OLED emitters) with color filters on top (RBG and W). The WRGB technology (developed by Kodak and now owned by LG Display) was found to be easier to scale-up for large-area OLED production, although it suffers from lower efficiency and more complicated design.

Rollable and transparent OLED televisions?

Like we said before, OLEDs can be made flexible, or transparent. Both LG and Samsung demonstrated large 55" transparent and mirror OLED prototypes, and LGD already demonstrated 77" rollable and transparent OLED panels, which it plans to commercialize by 2020. These kinds of technologies are exciting - and while it will be some years before they reach the market, they could eventually redefine the TV of the future.

LGD 18'' rollable OLED prototype (CES 2016)
Samsung Display 55'' transparent OLED photo

Further reading

Latest OLED TV news

DSCC updates its display equipment market forecast, says recovery is not expected until 2022

Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) updated its display equipment spending forecasts, and the company now expects OLED spending to recover only in 2022. In June 2018, DSCC estimated that the OLED equipment market will start to recover in 2020.

Display equipment spending forecast (2016-2022, DSCC)

DSCC says that the whole display market is currently saturated after unprecedented equipment spending in 2016-2018 (an average of $22 billion per year for both LCDs and OLEDs) - for both mobile display and TV display production. Display production is expected to grow at 10% per year from 2018-2020 (as a result of the equipment orders in 2016-2018), and combined with lower operation margins and losses in the display market are causing display makers to be cautious with new capacity plans.

Rtings.com tests show serious burn-in in LG's OLED TVs after only 4,000 hours of use

Review web site Rtings.com has performed an extensive burn-in trial for LG's 2017 OLEDC7 OLED TV models, and reports that the TVs have shown signs of permanent image-retention, or burn-in after only 4,000 hours.

Rtings have used six OLED TVs, running them from January 2018 for 5 hours each day at a time followed by one hour when the TVs are turned off. This cycle was run 4 times a day. One TV was at maximum brightness, and the rest at only 200 nits. Some played CNN, some a gaming title (FIFA 2018) and some of the TVs played regular TV channels). The TV with the CNN had a clear logo and static bar burn-in images, and the same goes for the FIFA game (but only slightly). The regular TV programs did not suffer from any burn-in.

Flexbile OLEDs Market Report

Sony starts shipping its AF9 consumer reference-quality OLEDs

Sony started shipping its flagship 2018 TV, the OLED AF9 - at $3,499 for the 55" model and $4,599 for the 65" model (note: affiliate links to Amazon).

Sony AF9 photo

Sony's AF9 is a consumer reference-quality OLED TV, available in 55" and 65". The 4K WRGB TVs include Sony's latest technologies, including the X1 Ultimate Picture Processor, Pixel Contrast Booster, and an automated calibration mode. The TVs include a dedicated Netflix Calibrated Mode.

LG unveils its first Micro-LED TV prototype

LG unveiled its first Micro-LED TV prototype at IFA 2018. The large 173" panel uses individual micro-LEDs to create an emissive display, that can rival OLEDs.

It is not clear yet whether LG actually intends to develop this technology commercially for the consumer TV market and compete with its OLED TV business. Samsung's Micro-LED project seems to be more advanced as it started accepting pre-orders in June 2018 and will soon ship its Micro-LED TVs for commercial applications - and is also looking to release its first consumer-premium Micro-LED TV in 2019.

LG's 65" OLEDG8 OLED TV is now shipping in Europe

LG's high-end 65" OLED G8 OLED TV is finally shipping - at least in Europe. The price is €4,999, and £4,999 in the UK (note: affiliate link to Amazon). It will hopefully ship soon in the US as well.

LG OLEDG8 photo

The OLED G8 sports a unique on-glass design that extends the glass to the soundbar. The OLEDG8 is powered by LG's new a9 "intelligent processor" that promises better color and fast smart TV (webOS) operations. The TV supports Google's Assistant for natural language control, Dolby Atmos, HDR and 4K HFR.

LG starts shipping its flagship 77" Wallpaper OLEDW8 TV in Europe

LG Electronics finally started shipping its flagship 2018 television - the 77" Wallpaper OLEDW8. The price of LG's leading OLED TV is around £14,500 in the UK (note: affiliate link to Amazon) and around €11,700 in Germany.

LG OLEDW8 photo

The 65-inch model, the OLED65W8 is shipping in the UK for £7,999 (note: affiliate link to Amazon) - or just over $10,000 USD. Interestingly both TVs are not shipping in the US yet.

JOLED, Panasonic and Screen Finetech to co-develop and sale OLED printing equipment

JOLED announced today that it signed an agreement with Screen Finetech Solutions and Panasonic Production Engineering to co-develop, manufacture and sale printing equipment for large-area OLED production (mostly OLED TVs).

JOLED 4K prototype OLED Monitor (July 2017, Japan)

The three companies aim to quickly commercialize a new business that will be based on JOLED's manufacturing technology. JOLED plans to license its inkjet printing technology to OLED makers. JOLED has been developing its technology in collaboration with Panasonic since its founding in 2015. JOLED's technology was originally developed in Panasonic at around 2006.

Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters