Spotlight on InfoComm 2019


Is OLED Making a Comeback?

LG and Panasonic announce investments in OLED panels, begging the question: is OLED back?

Tim Albright

LG announced in July that it would be investing $803 million in its new OLED panel line. Based on the headline of “LG puts $800 million into OLED” one would get ready for super-thin flat panels and figuring out new and inventive places to put signage.

Not so fast. The announcement, and LG, did not say anything about flat panels. In fact, within the first paragraph LG dashed our dreams of the elusive “affordable OLED display.”

This new investment is for small and medium OLED displays. I’m not sure about you but a 70-inch OLED probably isn’t considered “medium.” LG makes phones, tablets, and supplies screens for Apple. There’s your investment.

Here’s why it is still is exciting for our industry. Technology will advance. LG will begin ramping this line up and will look for newer, faster ways of production. It will also look for what is most economically viable.

Those advances in technology and production will result in the ability to create large-format OLED displays. The trick is whether or not it will be an economically viable product. That is where we come in. We need to let LG, and other display manufacturers, know that it will be viable and that there is a demand for a large-format OLED in a certain price point. This can be your rep, at a trade show, or in social media.

The allure of a super-thin OLED or AMO-LED display has had technologists excited for a long time. The colors, off-axis viewing and mounting solutions are simply outstanding. It has felt for the last few years that they have taken two steps forward and one step back with various partnerships being created then dissolving.

This announcement by LG is another couple of steps in the right direction. However, we will have to watch and see what they do with it and if they continue developing this great technology for AV.

Editor’s note: As of early September, LG isn’t a solo player in the OLED game. During a recent press conference at IFA 2015, Panasonic announced the CZ950, a curved 4K UHD OLED TV built around the company’s Studio Master Drive processor. Panasonic says this is the most color-accurate TV it has ever created and will hit stores in Europe this October.