2014 should have been the year of OLED TVs, but that didn’t really work out. 2015 was then declared the year of OLED TV, but that year we saw hardly anything happen in this market. In 2017, however, we see that OLED is the new technology and many manufacturers come up with their own models. But, what exactly is OLED, and what are those advantages and disadvantages? In this article we will discuss everything you need to know about OLED televisions.
OLED TVs so far
Of course it all started about a new technique that was only available on very expensive and small models from Sony and LG, among others. So it was future music, but in 2013 LG was one of the first manufacturers to know to come up with ‘affordable’ OLED TVs of large format. The first models were announced with many bells and whistles , but with prices above 10,000 euros, it was actually already clear that OLED would still remain a niche product. However, many manufacturers announced that they wanted to invest in the technology and there was therefore hope that somewhere in 2014 we would see really affordable OLED TVs from major manufacturers.
Samsung and LG were the first two manufacturers to come up with OLED TVs for consumers, but it was clear that the technology was still in its infancy. Problems with displays surfaced and prices were still much too high. The specific OLED technology that Samsung used turned out not to be able to compete with the technology of LG, so Samsung stepped out of the market. From that moment on, LG was the only manufacturer of OLED panels. The Korean manufacturer has been releasing a full line-up of OLED televisions for consumers every year since 2014.
Since the end of 2015, we have also seen more manufacturers working with the technology, although they all use panels produced by LG. Panasonic was the first other manufacturer to come up with its own model, the TX-65CZ950 . That was the starting shot for the growth of the OLED TV market. After that, Philips and Loewe followed. At the beginning of 2017 we were able to add Sony and again Panasonic to the list. Apart from Samsung, every major manufacturer has one or more OLED TVs in its range. F
What is an OLED TV?
We have already briefly written about what OLED is and how it works, but we still explain it in understandable language. Oled stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode and is a display technology that enables thinner screens that also consume less power and must offer a higher contrast.
We will spare you the exact technological explanation of an OLED display, but OLED consists of a number of small diodes (lights). A diode is a very small source of light with an organic component that itself emits light. This technique does not use backlighting because the pixels themselves emit light when an electrical charge passes through them. LCD and LED TVs use backlighting and can therefore not be produced as thin as OLED TVs. Simply put, the pixels of OLED TVs themselves give light.
t the moment there are two OLED techniques; Passive-Matrix (PMOLED) and Active-Matrix (AMOLED). The second technique is most commonly used in TVs because it allows pixels to be turned on and off individually. In addition, there are two sub-techniques , looking at OLED TVs that have already been launched. Samsung used a traditional RGB (red, green, blue) pixel structure for its first OLED TV, while LG uses the WRGB technology, also known as WOLED, in which a fourth (white) sub-pixel is added. With this latter technique, light shines through a filter to create the RGB colors, which, according to the Korean manufacturer, provides a higher brightness.
Advantages OLED TVs
Manufacturers don’t just come up with OLED TVs; there is therefore at least one benefit for both manufacturer and consumer. If we look at the differences between LCD LED and OLED, we see a number of important benefits for consumers. First of all, OLED TVs are very thin. LG has even managed to make an OLED TV one millimeter thin, like a painting on the wall. This means that an OLED TV is also a lot lighter and an OLED TV is more energy-efficient than an LCD TV. However, the biggest advantage is reflected in the image quality. OLED TVs provide wider viewing angles where the contrast is not lost, but above all, an infinitely high contrast can be displayed by individually switching pixels on and off. Black is deep black,
But that is not all, because OLED TVs also have faster response times, which ensures a smooth display of fast movements, and the brightness can also be higher than with LCD LED TVs. However, this last point has not yet been fully reached; in terms of brightness, the latest OLED TVs are still behind the latest LCD LED TVs with quantum dot technology and HDR support .
Cons OLED TVs
However, OLED TVs do not come with all advantages. The biggest drawback is immediately clear; OLED televisions are far from cheap and also cost manufacturers a lot of money to produce. LG is currently the only manufacturer to produce on a large scale and has already managed to significantly reduce production costs. At the moment you can buy a new OLED TV a few years old for around 1,500 euros. The latest 2017 models start at around 2,500 / 3,000 euros, and we are talking purely about an entry-level 55-inch model. The real top models go for between 6,000 and 8,000 euros over the counter.
Another disadvantage is that the lifespan of OLED TVs is not yet particularly good, although LG promises that this is no longer the case. The color balance in particular can deteriorate after a while because the OLED material that provides the blue light ‘decays’ faster than red and green. LG also indicates that it has found a solution for this problem; the WRGB technique described above. But, it is still difficult to estimate how long an OLED TV will actually last and continue to offer good image quality. Some TVs also seem to suffer from ‘burn-in’. This means that when an image is shown on a TV for a very long time, part of it can remain blurred LG also promises to fix this problem.
OLED TVs with curved screens and higher resolutions
We now know that OLED is a display technology, but that does not mean that an OLED TV only has to be an OLED TV. OLED televisions are also subject to new developments in the television market. For example, we see curved screens in OLED TVs since 2014; screens that are slightly curved and, according to the manufacturers, should provide a better viewing experience. However, in 2017, LG discontinued the use of curved screens, as did many other manufacturers. There will therefore be no new OLED TVs with a curved screen on the market for the time being, which is an excellent development in our opinion since the curved screen is purely aesthetic.
However, it is not only curved and flat OLED screens that we see. LG has previously announced an OLED TV with a flexible screen , which means that you can influence the curvature of the screen using the remote control. In addition, LG released a wallpaper OLED TV in 2017 that is very slim and can be attached to the wall by means of magnets. The resolution of an OLED TV also goes with the times. Where the first models still had a Full HD resolution, we already see models with a 4K Ultra HD resolution . In addition, LG has the latest models with HDR support . This means that content with a wider dynamic range can be displayed.
But, we can make it even crazier because LG has shown several times what the possibilities are with OLED displays. For example, the screens can even be made completely flexible and thus be rolled up. Imagine that you can roll up your TV and take it with you, for example on vacation. Oled therefore offers many extra options, some of which we will certainly see back on the market.