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 is the world's clear leader in OLED TV technologies. LG Display is the only company that produces commercial panels (although China's BOE is also entering production), and LG Electronics has several OLED TV models on the market - ranging in size from 55" to 77". Some of these are flat, and some are curved, and all the latest models support 4K (UHD) resolution and HDR. Reviews of LG's OLED TVs are great, and most experts say that these are the best TVs ever produced - with virtually perfect image quality. Following is a table of LG's 2016 models (LG's 2017 OLEDTV models are just entering the market now as well)

LG OLED65C6P photo
Curved 55"/65" ($2,497 / $3,499)
LG OLED65E6P photo
Flat high-end 55"/65" ($3,499 / $4,999)

In early 2017 LG launched updated 2017 models, and the company's new flag ship TV is the Wallpaper Signature OLEDW7. These extremely thin TVs (2.57 mm all the way) attach to the wall using magnets. LG Display also supplies panels to other companies - including Panasonic, Sony, Grundig, Philips, Metz, Loewe, Skyworth, Changhong, Haier, Konka and KTC.

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 such as those in Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Apple's Watch), 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 plastic-based OLEDs in its Gen-4.5 fab, with a monthly capacity of 14,000 substrates (more than double its capacity in the beginning of 2014). LG Display's flexible AMOLEDs were used in LG's mobile phones (the G Flex 2) and are currently used in wearable devices (such as the Wear 2.0 Watch Sport) and in Apple's Watch and Watch Series 2.



LG's flexible OLED capacity is quite limited at this stage, but the company is set to dramatically increase its production capacity. With 3 flexible OLED fabs already underway. The first one will be the the E5 6-Gen (1500x1850 mm) $900 million line that is scheduled to begin mass production in the first half of 2017.

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 the world's largest OLEDs (at 300x300 mm) and the world's first flexible OLEDs (on a glass substrate).

LG Chem truly flexible OLED lighting panel photo

LG's current OLED lighting production capacity is limited, but the company is constructing a Gen-5 OLED lighting fab that will enter production in late 2017. The new fab will enable LG to increase production volume and cut prices dramatically.

Further reading

Latest LG OLED news

LG Display orders the deposition equipment for its Gen-10.5 line in Paju (P10)

Towards the end of 2015 LG Display announced that it plans to build a new OLED fab (P10) in Paju in a $8.7 billion investment to produce both mid-sized flexible OLED and large-sized OLED TV panels. LGD considered for a while whether this new fab will be based on Gen-8 production or Gen-10.

LG Display production hub in Paju

According to a new report from Korea, LGD has ordered its first batch of deposition equipment for the P10 line, which will be Gen-10.5 (2940 x 3370 mm). The first line will have a production capacity of 30,000 substrates per month, which will greatly increase LGD's total OLED TV production capacity. LGD finished the construction of the building and the fab is expected to be complete in the first half of 2018.

eMagin: Apple, LG and Valve did not participate in the latest offering

On January 2018 OLED microdisplay maker eMagin announced that it plans to raise $11.5 million in an underwritten public offering, and on the company's filing it mentioned five specific investors - Apple, LG Display, Valve Corporation, Stillwater Holdings and Immerex.

eMagin SXGA OLED-XL microdisplay photo

While we all assumed these companies invested in eMagin, the company released a statement yesterday saying that this is not the case - "As of today, to the Company’s knowledge, none of these consumer electronics companies have taken part in the offering.". eMagin's CFO says that "eMagin listed those companies in the filing because it had discussions with them at industry event".

Transparent OLEDs Market Report

LG, Apple and Valve participated in eMagin's latest funding round

Update: eMagin published a statement saying that these companies (Apple, LG, Valve, Stillwater and Immerex) in fact did not participate in the offering.

On January 2018 OLED microdisplay maker eMagin announced that it plans to raise $11.5 million in an underwritten public offering, which closed on January 29. It turns out that eMagin's SEC filing specifies five investors - Apple, LG Display, Valve Corporation, Stillwater Holdings and Immerex.

eMagin XGA096 OLED-XL photo

eMagin has been saying that it is working with large companies ("Tier-1") on its consumer VR technologies, and it is a very encouraging sign to see this impressive list of new investors. Apple's AR and VR plans are still unknown, but it has been assumed for a long time that Apple is looking into OLED microdisplays, and it's interest in eMagin is not a surprise. LG is also interested in VR and AR displays, and is reportedly collaborating with Google, and it's great to see it investing in eMagin as well.

Cynora presents a new blue TADF emitter, aims to meet LGD's and SDC's specification soon

German TADF developer Cynora recently participated in the international OLED summit in China, and the company presented its latest blue TADF material that features a CIEy of 0.18, EQE of 21% and a lifetime of 10 hours LT97 at 700 nits. This is an improvement of the material shown in September 2017 (which had the same specification but with a lower EQE of 14%).

Cynora: where are we today slide (Feb 2018)

Cynora reports that during the last 24 months, the company achieved its most important goals - high efficiency and a satisfying color point. It has made "tremendous progress" in the last year on the lifetime front and is now close to commercial lifetime specification.

LG Display to supply Sony with P-OLED displays for future smartphones

According to Business Korea, LG Display signed an agreement with Sony to supply it with flexible P-OLED displays for future Sony smartphones. Sony is not a major smartphone player globally, but in Japan it holds 14.9% of the market (second only to Apple).

LG V30 photoLG V30 P-OLED Smartphone

LG Display is already supplying Sony with OLED displays for Sony's OLED TVs, and reportedly in 2017 Sony requested LGD to double its OLED panel shipments as demand for Sony's OLED TVs has been better than expected.

Digitimes: Apple may ditch its 6-inch OLED iPhone for 2018 and launch only the 6.5" OLED one

In November 2017 KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimated that Apple will launch three new iPhone models in 2018 - two of these will sport OLED displays, the 5.8" and 6.5" models. A new report from Digitimes, however, says that Apple may eventually only launch the larger (6.5-inch) OLED variant in 2018.

Digitimes one 2018 OLED iPhone scenario (KGI)

According to Digitimes, Apple is developing four new iPhones: two LCD Models (5.8" and 6") and two OLED Models (6" and 6.5"), but it may abandon the smaller OLED variant. This is mostly due to lower than expected iPhone X sales.

Philips announces its 2018 OLED TV lineup

Philips (TPVision) announced its OLED TV lineup for 2018. Philips will offer three models, the OLED 973, OLED 873 and OLED 803. All of these 2018 TVs will be pretty similar, and all will feature 4K WRGB OLED panels, Philips' P5 "Perfect-Picture" processor, 3-sided Ambilight, HDR10, HLG and HDR10+ (will arrive in Q2 2018), Quad-core Android TV platform with Google Assistant and 16GB of memory.

Philips OLED 973 photo

The main difference is the TV design, and the 973 will also offer a 60W soundbar. The 973 and 873 will come in 65", while the 803 will also have a 55" option. The OLED 973 and OLED 873 will launch in Q1 2018, and the OLED 803 will arrive in the summer. Philips did not yet disclose the pricing of its new OLED TVs.

UBI sees AMOLED production capacity growing at a 48% CAGR from 2018 to 2020

UBI Research estimates that the global AMOLED production capacity will grow at a CAGR of 48% from 2018 to 2020. Overall production size will grow from 13 million square meters in 2017 to 40 million square meters in 2020.

AMOLED production capacity (2017-2020, UBI)

Small and medium-sized displays will continue to lead the AMOLED market, with 32 million square meters in 2020 (compared to 8.4 million in 2020). Samsung Display will continue to dominate but its market share will drop to around 45% in 2020 (down from around 90% in 2017).

LGD to start flexible OLED production in its E6 line in Q3 2018

LG Display reported its Q4 2017 financial results. Revenues reached KRW7,126 billion ($6.6 billion USD) - up slightly from Q3 2017 but down 10% from Q4 2016. Net income was KRW 44 billion ($42 million USD, a drop of 91% from Q3 2017 and 95% from Q4 2016).

LGD 88'' 8K OLED prototype photo

Looking back at 2017, LGD says that it solidified its OLED business, increased its annual OLED TV shipments to 1.7 million units and started production of flexible OLEDs at its E5 production line. The 6-Gen E5 line has started mass production in Q3 2017 but will only start to output displays for products that will launch at the end of 2017 - the 6" P-OLEDs used in LG's own V30 and Google's Pixel 2 XL were produced at LG's older and smaller E2 line, and reviewers and consumers alike were disappointed in LG's AMOLED performance. . In August we first reported that LGD is still facing very low yields at its 6-Gen E5 line, but it seems that yields and display quality are improving.

Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters