OLED displays use organic, or carbon-containing, compounds that emit light when electricity is applied. Unlike liquid crystal display panels they do not need backlighting, making OLED TVs slimmer and more energy-efficient. However, they still have a product life less than existing LCD TVs.
The absence of the backlight in OLEDs makes them much lighter and extremely thin compared to LCDs, which tend to be large due to the presence of these backlights. In addition, reduced power consumption also makes OLEDs superior to LCDs, which require more power due to the backlight of the display module. Being emissive in nature, OLEDs offer significant power-saving capabilities that reduce the long-term application costs.
Samsung SDI Co is also engaged in the production of OLED displays for Tvs. The S.Korean company showcased a 31-inch OLED TV at CES 2008. Samsung has been sharing patents related to the OLED display patents with Sony since 2004, when the Korean company signed a cross-license agreement.
Samsung has also recently announced that it would double monthly output capacity of active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AM-OLED) displays to 3 million units by 2008 from 1.5 million now. The company claims that it has the technological ability to produce 40-inch AM OLEDs, but mass production is schedulled in 2010, when the investments in the new technology will allow Samsung to offer the TVs at lower retail prices.
OLEDs are expected to face strong competition from LCDs. Although the performance benefits of OLEDs surpass LCDs, the decreasing cost of LCDs remains a key factor constraining the industry. The best strategy to overcome this will be the development of applications where OLEDs and LCDs can coexist, for example, in the backlight of an LCD panel. To establish a significant market presence, OLED manufacturers should build on energy efficiency, improve resolutions and boost OLED life cycles.