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LG Investing $656 Million in Next-Gen OLED Screens

By - Source: WSJ | B 16 comments

Firm will produce thinner and more energy efficient displays for televisions.

South Korean technology firm LG has announced that it is investing $656.7 million in forming a next-generation display panel production line.

The manufacturing line will commence at the firm's P9 factory in Paju, South Korea. It is planning to produce eighth-generation organic light emitting diode (OLED) TV panels at a capacity of 26,000 per month.

LG said mass production of the forthcoming 8G panels, which will deliver thinner and more energy efficient displays for televisions, will start sometime during the first half of 2014.

LG is the world's largest flat-screen maker, with Apple being one of its clients. Samsung, its chief competitor in the display market, is selling a television every three seconds.

Although the display market has experienced a decrease in growth recently, analysts predict forthcoming growth in the OLED TV sector, which is expected to be worth $3 billion by 2015.

 

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  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , February 20, 2013 8:15 AM
    you just had to mention apple somewhere didn't you?
  • 9 Hide
    innocent bystander , February 20, 2013 8:47 AM
    OLED is where the meat is for the display industry for the next several years. It's a much bigger story than 4K or 3D were.

    I can't wait to see reasonably priced, high resolution desktop and laptop displays to hit the market.

    IB
  • 0 Hide
    uhh3000 , February 20, 2013 9:25 AM
    innocent bystanderI can't wait to see reasonably priced, high resolution desktop and laptop displays to hit the market.IB


    I just recently got a rather nice Asus 24" 1920x1080 led monitor for $175, so there are some nice, basic, low response time HD monitors out there. Unless you mean something like 2560x1440, in which case I completely agree.
  • 1 Hide
    downhill911 , February 20, 2013 9:57 AM
    innocent bystanderOLED is where the meat is for the display industry for the next several years. It's a much bigger story than 4K or 3D were. I can't wait to see reasonably priced, high resolution desktop and laptop displays to hit the market.IB

    If I could choose OLED(1080p) vs. 4K I would go for 4K anytime, but there is still not enough content though.
  • 2 Hide
    alidan , February 20, 2013 10:01 AM
    uhh3000I just recently got a rather nice Asus 24" 1920x1080 led monitor for $175, so there are some nice, basic, low response time HD monitors out there. Unless you mean something like 2560x1440, in which case I completely agree.


    except oled can give you real blacks and no backlight flaws, with an acutely sub 2ms response time (i believe, i have read even lower)

    an ok oled and a great lcd... i would pick the ok oled

    what you have is a lcd monitor that is lit from the side with leds most likely, as 175 isnt enough for matrix lighting ( i dont know the real name of it, but the leds behind the screen and not on the side)

  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , February 20, 2013 10:11 AM
    downhill911If I could choose OLED(1080p) vs. 4K I would go for 4K anytime, but there is still not enough content though.


    What if you had to choose between 2560x1600 with OLED and 4K (lets say 3820x2160 to be specific) with current display tech? If you don't mind me asking, would monitor size impact your decision and if so, at what point(s)?
  • 2 Hide
    blazorthon , February 20, 2013 10:19 AM
    innocent bystanderOLED is where the meat is for the display industry for the next several years. It's a much bigger story than 4K or 3D were. I can't wait to see reasonably priced, high resolution desktop and laptop displays to hit the market.IB


    Some people might be surprised at me, but I think that a modification of CRT could be better. CRT flat-screen displays were made only a few inches thick with some of the best models right before they were abandoned and I bet that we could get them well under an inch thick with current technology along with some significant power efficiency improvements and other improvements. CRTs have some advantages that no display technology since them has copied such as not having a native resolution. If we'd kept on going with CRT technology at least as an after-thought, we could easily have affordable displays capable of running 4K resolutions if we wanted.

    So many possibilities... For example, what if the screen was split into say sixteen sections and gave each a small emitter instead of one big one for the whole display? I am not an expert on monitors, but I think that something like that could easily let us cut down on display depth down to competitive levels with most LCD displays without sacrificing the advantage of not having a native resolution.
  • 0 Hide
    deksman , February 20, 2013 11:47 AM
    I find it stupid that they might be making screen using same type of non-abundant materials as before.

    Synthetic diamonds (which can be made in abundance and sustainability) were usable for this in the late 90-ies.
    Same thing with carbon nanotubes.
    With graphene, it was doable since late 2008 when the band-gap issue was solved.

    At least if they were recycling all those resources on the landfills and made superior synthetic materials with latest methods of production (which would reduce input of energy and raw materials - creating a lot more using a lot less), then we'd have some prospects.

    And look at the manufacturers of laptops.
    Most high-end laptops get 1080p resolutions.
    Mid-range ones STILL use 768p or 800p resolutions (whereas smartphones and pads are already comfortably using at least 50% more (up to 2x bigger resolutions).

  • 1 Hide
    alidan , February 20, 2013 12:19 PM
    blazorthonWhat if you had to choose between 2560x1600 with OLED and 4K (lets say 3820x2160 to be specific) with current display tech? If you don't mind me asking, would monitor size impact your decision and if so, at what point(s)?


    for a tv... i would chose oled over 4k even if the oled was 720p
    1) no 4k content
    2) i sit over 10 feet away from my tv, if i for 4k it would have to be 120+ inch to be noticeable
    3) even at 10 feet away, and 720p at 50 inches, an oled would be cheaper than the 4k (current prices) and give me a better over all picture (may not be as high res, but real blacks... my god do i miss those)

    blazorthonSome people might be surprised at me, but I think that a modification of CRT could be better. CRT flat-screen displays were made only a few inches thick with some of the best models right before they were abandoned and I bet that we could get them well under an inch thick with current technology along with some significant power efficiency improvements and other improvements. CRTs have some advantages that no display technology since them has copied such as not having a native resolution. If we'd kept on going with CRT technology at least as an after-thought, we could easily have affordable displays capable of running 4K resolutions if we wanted.So many possibilities... For example, what if the screen was split into say sixteen sections and gave each a small emitter instead of one big one for the whole display? I am not an expert on monitors, but I think that something like that could easily let us cut down on display depth down to competitive levels with most LCD displays without sacrificing the advantage of not having a native resolution.


    those were called sed tvs, and they were the stop gap between lcd and oled
    however the people doing sed tv got held up in court for so long that by the time they could make an sed tv, they would be coming to market with something thicker, heavier, and at least 4X the cost of a comparable lcd/plasma screen

    personally i was holding off on sed for a computer monitor... but those plans changed a few years back.

  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 20, 2013 12:34 PM
    I work in TV studios, matching exposure and colour balance between cameras. I'm very picky about what monitors I use. I hate using LCDs because the black level is no good and motion handling is very poor. Cameramen hate them because there is a significant lag, and it's impossible to focus on moving pictures. CRT monitors were the best option for colour matching, but OLEDs are taking over fast. There tends to be a slight colour change with angle - the red is more directional on Sony panels so they go cyan as you move to the side but otherwise they are superb displays. I have a 15" LG OLED in my kitchen, which I much prefer to the big LCD in the living room. So yes, give me a 1080i OLED in preference to a 4K LCD any day.
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , February 20, 2013 12:45 PM
    blazorthonSome people might be surprised at me, but I think that a modification of CRT could be better. CRT flat-screen displays were made only a few inches thick with some of the best models right before they were abandoned and I bet that we could get them well under an inch thick with current technology along with some significant power efficiency improvements and other improvements. CRTs have some advantages that no display technology since them has copied such as not having a native resolution. If we'd kept on going with CRT technology at least as an after-thought, we could easily have affordable displays capable of running 4K resolutions if we wanted.So many possibilities... For example, what if the screen was split into say sixteen sections and gave each a small emitter instead of one big one for the whole display? I am not an expert on monitors, but I think that something like that could easily let us cut down on display depth down to competitive levels with most LCD displays without sacrificing the advantage of not having a native resolution.

    The problem with CRT technology (and SED that you are refering to is one of those) is that it does not scale well on cost or power. I mean, you are essentially talking about have an electron gun for each pixel.... that is a lot of electron guns, and a lot of power usage. It looked absolutely awesome, but OLED brings a similar image quality with high contrast, true 'off' blacks, accurate color, higher possible pixel density, and much lower power usage.
    Again, those SED sets looked amazing, but OLED is comparable (if not better), while bringing manufacturing, cost, complexity, and power advantages.
  • 1 Hide
    CaedenV , February 20, 2013 12:48 PM
    @blazorthon
    oh, and I absolutely agree that LCD was a huge step backwards in quality over CRT. I use my LCD screen for my daily driver, but if I need something to be accurate then I whip out my old Mitsubishi CRT. It is too big to fit on my desk on a regular basis, but that nearly 20 year old monitor will give any modern high end display a run for it's money.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , February 20, 2013 1:21 PM
    CaedenVThe problem with CRT technology (and SED that you are refering to is one of those) is that it does not scale well on cost or power. I mean, you are essentially talking about have an electron gun for each pixel.... that is a lot of electron guns, and a lot of power usage. It looked absolutely awesome, but OLED brings a similar image quality with high contrast, true 'off' blacks, accurate color, higher possible pixel density, and much lower power usage.Again, those SED sets looked amazing, but OLED is comparable (if not better), while bringing manufacturing, cost, complexity, and power advantages.


    Yes, but I think that with modern tech, we could get that power problem brought down greatly. The most recent CRT's were only using about 20-40% more power than the LCD displays of their time and that was almost a decade ago. I'm sure that modern tech could overcome the power consumption issues of old CRTs.

    My only issue with OLED is that like the rest, it is stuck with native resolutions whereas CRTs can run at a wide variety of resolutions without any sacrifice in quality (which as you clearly understand, was already incredible even with pretty much any decent CRT monitor). Like I said earlier, with an advancement of CRT tech, we could easily have cheap 4K-capable displays, granted unless there's a way to make them digital, they may need an update to VGA or a better analogue replacement for VGA to handle that well.

    Perhaps even more important, CRTs are literally the only displays AFAIK that can have good video quality when viewing poor quality video sources. I'd bet plenty that lower than native resolution stuff would look better on a CRT than even on a comparable OLED display.

    Heck, it doesn't even need to be CRT- just something that doesn't rely on native resolution for optimal picture quality. Maybe we can use a different technology to replace them like some sort of high-efficiency LED laser dispersal technology to replace those old electron guns.
  • 1 Hide
    downhill911 , February 20, 2013 2:06 PM
    blazorthonWhat if you had to choose between 2560x1600 with OLED and 4K (lets say 3820x2160 to be specific) with current display tech? If you don't mind me asking, would monitor size impact your decision and if so, at what point(s)?

    You just got me unsure - really interesting question.
    If you mean PC displays than
    2560x1600 with OLED @ 27''= very likable
    4K 3820x2160 @ 30-32''- not sure about using it as monitor cuz I feel like my current 1440p 27'' is just the right and reasonable size without having to turn head from side to side.

    But if we talk about TVs, I think I would prefer 50'' 4K instead of 50'' 1080p Oled.


  • 1 Hide
    blazorthon , February 20, 2013 3:15 PM
    downhill911You just got me unsure - really interesting question.If you mean PC displays than2560x1600 with OLED @ 27''= very likable4K 3820x2160 @ 30-32''- not sure about using it as monitor cuz I feel like my current 1440p 27'' is just the right and reasonable size without having to turn head from side to side.But if we talk about TVs, I think I would prefer 50'' 4K instead of 50'' 1080p Oled.


    I was going for displays in general, so both TVs and monitors count :) 

    Yeah, that answer is pretty much what I expected. It seems that among people who have an understanding of large displays and/or very high resolutions, stuff like what you said here is a general consensus.

    I'd answer the question like this:
    for computer monitors, I prefer 16x10 resolutions over 16x9. It's the other way around for TVs for good reason IMO, but it always seems to short for a computer monitor.
    Monitors equal to either 24" or 27" or somewhere between the two would be ideal with 2560x1600.
    Monitors equal to either 15.6" and 21.5" or somewhere between the two would be ideal with 1920x1200.
    Monitors between either range or outside of them are often somewhat uncomfortable for me regardless of resolution and such.

    I haven't had a TV under 50" in a long time and I don't see the point in it for my uses (if I wanted something smaller, then I'd just get a good computer monitor because I'll probably be sitting close enough to be annoyed by the big TV pixels anyway). Around 50" or greater for TVs would make some sense with 4K. Granted, I'll be sitting much farther away from the TV than from a computer monitor, so around 2560x1440 will probably still be fine, it would not be a resolution that works well with 1080p programming.

    Oh, and I made a mistake earlier. It's 3840x2160, not 3820x2160. My bad :( 

    3840x2160 is a very nice resolution because it can accurately play 720p ( 3x3 720p) and 1080p (2x2 1080p) and that is very nice, although you probably already knew that :) 
  • 0 Hide
    robochump , February 20, 2013 4:44 PM
    wozza365you just had to mention apple somewhere didn't you?


    Yeah, feeding the trolls...lol.

    Anyway - I read reports that LG is spending much more to develop and manufacture 8G panels. At some point the resolution of TVs will hit the ceiling and in order to continue selling TVs there will be a need to push for other selling gimmicks (smart TV, touch screen, curved screens, etc, etc). Funny thing with smart TVs is that it may cannibalize PC sales and another reason electronic forecasters keep dooming the PC in the near future.