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Call it a comeback for OLED

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International CES

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Image a high-definition TV, 80 inches wide and less than a quarter-inch thick, consumes less power than most TVs on the market today and can be rolled up when you're not using it. This TV display technology is all possible via OLED - Organic light - emitting diodes. OLED technologyis seen as the future of TV displayand is expected to make a comeback next week at Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

In January 2005 Samsung demonstrated a 21" as well as a 40" prototype AM OLED display in May 2005. LCD and Plasma prices are dropping and their technology is advancing so OLED has its work cut out for it. Next week, LG has announced that it will be showing off its long-rumored 55-inch OLED set at CES and should be approximately 5 millimeters thick (or thinner than a pen).

The first diode device was developed by Eastman-Kodak in 1987 and works when a bright light is emitted in response to an electric current. OLED displays without a bright light and with a dark room OLED can achieve a higher contrast ratio than LCD. OLED technology is being used in mobile phones, PDAs, watches, car radios, digital cameras, computer monitors and among others.

OLED display TV technology has been at CES in January 2005 Samsung demonstrated a 21" prototype AM OLED display as well as a 40" (1280 x 800) prototype AM OLED display in May 2005. And in 2010 LG Electronics displayed a 15” and has announced a 31” OLED 3D television for March 2011. Since LCD and Plasma prices are dropping and technology advancing, OLED has its work cut out for it. LG has announced that it will be showing off its 55-inch OLED set at CES 2012 and should be approximately 5 millimeters thick (or thinner than a pen).

The biggest issue with OLED joining LCD and plasma as a commercially viable HDTV technology is price. The U.S. market has seen exactly one OLED set — a 11.1-inch Sony model that cost about $2,500. OLED technologies promise several advantages including: elimination of backlighting, requiring a single layer of plastic as opposed to two sheets of glass, lower power consumption, and the possibility for physically flexible displays. Significant challenges for OLED are in the area of life expectancy and color consistency over the life of the display.

Like an LED, an OLED is a solid-state semiconductor device that is 100 to 500 nanometers thick or about 200 times smaller than a human hair. The government agency which regulates the semiconductor industry EPA welcomes alternative lighting technologies because OLEDs are a great substitute for Cathode Ray Tubes, which contain lead and is used in conventional Flat Panel Displays. The OLED displays have additional benefits of reduced energy use and overall material use through the lifecycle.

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