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Article: Has OLED reached its peak?

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Steve, I am curious to know if you only watch streaming content such as Netflix. Is any of the HDR content delivered higher then 1000 nits via streaming. If not, then for people only viewing via streaming [Netflix HDR, Amazon HDR10, iTUNES HDR, Disney+ HDR] there is no benefit for 1000 nits.
Streaming services do seem to favour grades that top out at 1000nits, but what's rarely mentioned is full screen brightness. This an area where OLED struggles and, given the nature of the technology, one that is unlikely to improve much. The same goes for colour volume, which is another area where OLED can't compete with brighter technologies.
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
Streaming services do seem to favour grades that top out at 1000nits, but what's rarely mentioned is full screen brightness. This an area where OLED struggles and, given the nature of the technology, one that is unlikely to improve much. The same goes for colour volume, which is another area where OLED can't compete with brighter technologies.
Agree. MicroLED appears to be the only tech that can offer the best of OLED (blacks/contrast) and LED-LCD (whites/colour volume).
 

Jokerr

Well-known Member
They are purportedly cherry picking panels. I read it mentioned on a few reviews. There was also some rumour that LG graded panels and used the better ones for the E series.

I'm not sure how true that is. But I suspect they may well be testing the array that drives the panel and using the most consistent for the GZ2000. That's a little easier to do on a small production run, particularly if you can get away with charging a premium. Clearly Panasonic have an advantage here, as a portion of their customers are enthusiasts and will pay more for a marginal improvement.
“There was also some rumour that LG graded panels and used the better ones for the E series.
I'm not sure how true that is.”


If you listen to the latest AVFORUMS Podcast - Phil mentions this is not true. He asked LG about it at CES.
 

Livemo

Active Member
I'm enjoying my C9, but there's definitely a market for high end lcds. Until the real qled is ready or microled
 

5to1

Well-known Member
“There was also some rumour that LG graded panels and used the better ones for the E series.
I'm not sure how true that is.”


If you listen to the latest AVFORUMS Podcast - Phil mentions this is not true. He asked LG about it at CES.
I was dubious. I posted the same on a thread about it. It doesnt seem like something thats easy to do in any quantity.

If the GZ2000 is consistently delivered with very uniform panels, they probably are doing some sort of grading though. It's a bit easier to do on a low production product where they can charge a premium. It may not be on the OLED panel though, it could be on the array that drives the panel. Grading and calibrating for consistency.
 

Evinger

Well-known Member
As a non-technical Forum member, but an owner of both a 65" LG-E6V and also a 55" LG-E6V I am (even now) surprised by the quality of picture on both these screens. What I find laughable is how people go on about pushing the technology barriers even further to improve picture quality when the simple fact is that there isn't enough 4K content out there for users to watch. Why in the world would people (or Manufacturer's) be pushing for 8K and 16K screens.
I appreciate people wanting better, especially in a Large Screen / Home Cinema environment. For us, though, our B7 looks a good as we could wish for, but we always watch it in low- or no-light conditions. I do think improvements that allow equally good viewing in bright conditions, and longer panel life combined with more consistent quality are good advances
I think like the LCD forums, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

I've avoided using slides to go look for banding. If I dont see it in content, there's no point making it an issue by going and looking for it.

It's not trivial driving 25m sub pixels within a relatively small area, in a perfectly uniform manner. Some variation is always going to occur unfortunately. But people seem to think they will get the perfect panel. If I applied that to everything I bought, I'd be returning every product several times :D
Yep, if I ever went "hunting" for Banding, and saw some, even if I could not see it while viewing content, just knowing it was there would bug me. I'm just that kind of person! 🤷‍♂️
 

mad steve

Well-known Member
th
I was dubious. I posted the same on a thread about it. It doesnt seem like something thats easy to do in any quantity.

If the GZ2000 is consistently delivered with very uniform panels, they probably are doing some sort of grading though. It's a bit easier to do on a low production product where they can charge a premium. It may not be on the OLED panel though, it could be on the array that drives the panel. Grading and calibrating for consistency.

The panel in our GZ950 is perfect. No Tints No banding.. Only down side now it really shows up how much DSE my Q9FN actually as lol. Im going to wrap my GZ in bubble rap.
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
I was dubious. I posted the same on a thread about it. It doesnt seem like something thats easy to do in any quantity.

If the GZ2000 is consistently delivered with very uniform panels, they probably are doing some sort of grading though. It's a bit easier to do on a low production product where they can charge a premium. It may not be on the OLED panel though, it could be on the array that drives the panel. Grading and calibrating for consistency.
Sorry, but there is no grading of panels by LG or Panasonic.
Watch the videos, both say it is engineering, not panel grading.
Both are engineers, not marketing, so their answers are honest and accurate. I asked these questions to put to bed the rumours going around on Forums where its guesswork and not fact-based.
 

the hoff

Active Member
Agree with the comments on banding and burn-in. I've owned plasmas since around 2003 and never had any issues with burn-in (used for TV/film/gaming) and since I've owned my E6, I haven't even noticed anything other than the smallest instances of (very short-term) image retention. My kids will frequently leave the Apple home screen (or something similar) on for 20-30 minutes before I realise and even then I've not noticed any issue. I'm not saying it's impossible but I do think that the issue is not anywhere near as bad as the forums would have you believe.

In terms of banding, I was stupid enough to load the 5% black slides when I bought the TV and thought I'd bought a dud but the reality is that apart from maybe 2-3 instances in 3 years, I've never noticed anything during casual or critical viewing (must equate to about 0.001% of the time it's been used!) Interestingly when I put the slides on a few months ago (just out of curiosity) the banding had definitely improved from when I first purchased, so maybe it does improve over time?
 

mad steve

Well-known Member
Sorry, but there is no grading of panels by LG or Panasonic.
Watch the videos, both say it is engineering, not panel grading.
Both are engineers, not marketing, so their answers are honest and accurate. I asked these questions to put to bed the rumours going around on Forums where its guesswork and not fact-based.

How come Panasonic seem to produce cleaner looking panels than LG ? I just assumed they got them off LG anyway.
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
How come Panasonic seem to produce cleaner looking panels than LG ? I just assumed they got them off LG anyway.
Engineering. All about how they drive the panel using their own expertise and processors. They will never tell you how, but they will point out their expertise with self-emissive technologies.
 

5to1

Well-known Member
Sorry, but there is no grading of panels by LG or Panasonic.
Watch the videos, both say it is engineering, not panel grading.
Both are engineers, not marketing, so their answers are honest and accurate. I asked these questions to put to bed the rumours going around on Forums where its guesswork and not fact-based.
Thanks.

The Panasonic engineer seemed to imply they were doing something in the factory. I presume he's alluding to how the panel is driven.

Is the array and underlying electronics the same across the range. And therefore uniformity the same. Or do they have different processes/engineering for the GZ series to deliver greater levels of panel uniformity?
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
Thanks.

The Panasonic engineer seemed to imply they were doing something in the factory. I presume he's alluding to how the panel is driven.

Is the array and underlying electronics the same across the range. And therefore uniformity the same. Or do they have different processes/engineering for the GZ series to deliver greater levels of panel uniformity?
It's all in the engineering, so how the panels are driven etc. and the techniques they use. They found the black flicker issue before LG and had engineered it out before it was an issue, for example. They have lots of experience with self-emissive TV technologies and decades of knowledge to put to use. They will, however, never tell you how they do it. Even in off the record discussions they remain tight-lipped.
 

5to1

Well-known Member
How come Panasonic seem to produce cleaner looking panels than LG ? I just assumed they got them off LG anyway.
The panel is only part of the picture (pun intended). You have to drive all those sub pixels. That isn't trivial, when you have 25m sub pixels in a relatively small area. And you need to consistently drive them in defined increments.

Imagine having 25m small holes on the size of your TV and you have to get a certain amount of water down each hole. It would be very hard to ensure exactly the right amount of water goes down the right hole and none leaks across to the next hole.
 

MEGATAMA

Active Member
It seems like 2016/17/18/19 oleds have same panels with little diference.....
Until they find solution for burn in i think this will be my last oled and yes i agree that maybe oled tech hit a wall with improvments of panels.
 

5to1

Well-known Member
It's all in the engineering, so how the panels are driven etc. and the techniques they use. They found the black flicker issue before LG and had engineered it out before it was an issue, for example. They have lots of experience with self-emissive TV technologies and decades of knowledge to put to use. They will, however, never tell you how they do it. Even in off the record discussions they remain tight-lipped.
Thanks, I appreciate its a trade secret :)

It's just LG's comments seem pretty unequivocal. But from the Panasonic engineers comments its not clear if all the TV's are equal. As you say its not just about the OLED panel, but also about how it's driven.

What i'm really wondering is if the claims the GZ2000's are more uniform holds any credence. In which case they must be driving the panel differently, or it's just internet myth.
 

Tim2049

Well-known Member
What i'm really wondering is if the claims the GZ2000's are more uniform holds any credence. In which case they must be driving the panel differently, or it's just internet myth.
Like most things, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. There's a chap on the GZ2000 thread here currently with some shocking uniformity photos from his new panel.

No doubt the GZ2000 is less susceptible to issues on the whole, but it's clear that the panel-lottery is still very much a 'thing'.
 

Kotatsu Neko

Well-known Member
B7 owner here, and I watch everything in a completely dark room. For me peak brightness, even my lowly B7 isn't an issue. When I watch a well mastered piece of HDR content (John Wick 3 springs to mind) I don't think any more brightness would be comfortable on the eyes.

What I do notice however is the ABL, which is incredibly aggressive on the B7 and turns any white or near white area into grey within a second or so. It looks pretty terrible when it kicks in.

How are LCDs doing with regard to pixel speed? When I move between my OLED, which has near plasma levels of pixel speed, to my PC's LCD ultrawide the difference in pixel speed is gigantic. (as is laughably bad black levels and low brightness of the ultrawide). Everything just smears instantly on an LCD when it moves. Good perhaps for 24fps content where new OLED owners complain of everything looking jerky, but miserable for everything else.

Perhaps MicroLCD is the best of both worlds. If it ever comes to market.
 

aoaaron

Well-known Member
I didn't see the point of taking into account burn in values for 2018/2019 TVs sets when they haven't really had the same ammount of time as 2015/2016/2017 sets to 'burn in'.

Just seemed a bit redundant to quote those numbers or at least not put a proviso that limited time has probably elapsed in those OLED TVs manufactured at those times.

Nice article though and I think the take home points are:

1. OLED has likely reached its limit in regards to image fidelity, but that image fidelity is FREAKING AMAZING

2. LG specifically, despite not making progress with the image improvements, have improved user experience with Gsync, VRR, HDMI 2.1, Film maker mode, low input lag et al which is something to respect as they've made considerable leaps in TV technologies in regards to feature sets which the older boys (Panasonic, Sony) like to trickle down to us slowly or never.

3. The big screen size issue is simply a big issue and the price disparity between a 77'' OLED+ and the comparable LCD panels is bad.

4. The biggest limiting factor of OLED is LG's and Retailer's poor customer service in regards to the burn in issue which still doesn't have any light shed on it. It seems like the lack of cover for screen burn in is actually pretty much illegal and any small claims court decision will side with the buyer; which makes the warranty an entire joke.


I actuall think another issue for OLEDs is the form factor. I think the thin at the top and fat at the bottom design just doesn't sit well and there should be a move towards improving the cooling to try and reduce the incidence of burn in by increasing the thickness (I believe Panasonic did this?).

Number 3 will take time to solve. Number 4 could be solved today if LG wanted it to be.
 

aoaaron

Well-known Member
Agree with the comments on banding and burn-in. I've owned plasmas since around 2003 and never had any issues with burn-in (used for TV/film/gaming) and since I've owned my E6, I haven't even noticed anything other than the smallest instances of (very short-term) image retention. My kids will frequently leave the Apple home screen (or something similar) on for 20-30 minutes before I realise and even then I've not noticed any issue. I'm not saying it's impossible but I do think that the issue is not anywhere near as bad as the forums would have you believe.

In terms of banding, I was stupid enough to load the 5% black slides when I bought the TV and thought I'd bought a dud but the reality is that apart from maybe 2-3 instances in 3 years, I've never noticed anything during casual or critical viewing (must equate to about 0.001% of the time it's been used!) Interestingly when I put the slides on a few months ago (just out of curiosity) the banding had definitely improved from when I first purchased, so maybe it does improve over time?

Given your use case proves your E6 is very resistant to burn in and image retention, could it not be argued that the users on the forums simply have faulty TVs which explains why your TV which has been put through the mill re: potential burn in, hasn't got any and theirs have?

In which case, it should probably be covered by warranty.
 

cdb

Active Member
Has OLED reached it's peak? Not while it's missing 3D it hasn't.
They're still releasing 3D movies on Blu-ray, so give us something to watch it on.
 

GadgetObsessed

Well-known Member
Aside from the issues you've already mentioned, another problem with RGB OLED is that the blue sub-pixel decays faster than the other two. This is the main reason LG pursued WRGB and Samsung abandoned its RGB OLED TVs, although the latter is still one of the largest manufacturers of AMOLED screens for mobile devices.

The Sony professional OLED monitor, which used a Panasonic panel and is no longer available, used RGB on a 32-inch screen size, but it still only delivered 100% of DCI-P3 and 1,000nits. It also had a shorter lifespan compared to consumer OLED TVs, which is one of the reasons why the professionals are moving to a new Dual LCD monitor for mastering work. The latter will also be brighter, more consistent and won't suffer from image retention or screen burn.
Thanks for a great article Steve.

Overall I think that OLED will remain the best display technology for the next few of years - but unless LG make considerable progress (e.g. someone finally develops a TAFD gen blue emitter) they will be overtaken by improving LCDs (dual layer and/or mini-LED) and eventually by micro-LED when this comes down to mass market prices.

Existing RGBW OLED
To me, the future of OLED is dependent upon improvements in the organic emitter materials - especially for blue. At the moment, blue emitter compounds are "first generation" - and have an efficiency of only around 25% i.e. only 25% of the energy that goes in is converted into light. Red and green have already moved on to "second generation" compounds (which are "doped" with heavy metals) and get nearer 100% efficiency. Lots of companies are trying create new (ideally blue) OLED emitters with high efficiency, high brightness and long lifespan - but it always seems to be a few years away. (Try googling for TADF to see the progress made on this 4th generation emitter for blue.)

One of the issues that seems to be related to OLED lifespan is heat. The Panasonic GZ2000 uses a custom panel with a metal heat sink. That better heat dispersion seems to allow it to go brighter and according to some reviews avoid image retention - which may indicate better resilience to screen burn. So one possible improvement for LG could be the general adoption of passive cooling (heatsinks) or even combine passive and active cooling (fans). While professional displays may use fans for cooling - I think it may be a difficult proposition for consumer displays. Fans would make displays considerably thicker and potentially noisy - although the PC industry has really progressed in the manufacture of quiet fans. Personally I would be happy with a thicker display and quiet fans if it meant that the display had a longer lifespan.

Inkjet Printing
Inkjet printing offers the possibility of more accurate placement and more efficient usage of the OLED emitter compounds. It also offers the possibility of considerably lower production costs than the existing evaporative techniques. This should lead to cheaper OLEDs. However, there is a potentially significant downside:

"Despite major progress, it is maintained that soluble OLED materials (required for inkjet printing) are less effective than evaporable ones. Ink-Jet printing is also not able to reach the same high densities of evaporation OLED production, which limits its applications for large-area production (TV panels)..."
(OLED ink jet printing: introduction and market status | OLED-Info)

It is possible that inkjet printing could lead to cheaper OLEDs but with lower brightness and/or shorter lifespan.

Quantum Dot OLED
Quantum dot OLED has been put forward as a potential new self-emissive display technology. Quantum dots are much more efficient at converting light from one colour to another than colour filters (which simply block light) so QD could help boost brightness and lifespan of an OLED.

However, blue being the weakest link is a particular issue for Quantum Dot OLED - as QD-OLED can only be driven by blue OLED emitters.

Quantum Dots convert a light source from one colour to another. However, they only work in one direction - from high frequency (the blue end of the spectrum) to lower frequencies (toward the red end of the spectrum).

A blue light source can, with quantum dots, create both green and red light.
A green light source could be used to create red light.
A red light source cannot be used to create any other visible colour.

So quantum dot OLEDs can only use blue to create a full RGB display. I belive that Samsung plan on having a stack of two blue OLED emitters behind each sub-pixel to help increase brightness.
 

aoaaron

Well-known Member
Has OLED reached it's peak? Not while it's missing 3D it hasn't.
They're still releasing 3D movies on Blu-ray, so give us something to watch it on.
Best bet for 3D is VR imo
 

GadgetObsessed

Well-known Member
15% of 2015 OLED owners have reported screen burn, but that figure suddenly jumps to 30% for 2016 models. Since then the various safety features that manufacturers have added appear to be working because only 8% of 2017 owners reported screen burn, and that's down to just 4% among 2018 models.
The difference between burn-in for 2016 and 2017 sets may not be down to better protection features - instead it could be down to the 2017 sets having fundamentally better lifespans becasue of the following significant technical changes in the panels

(1) In 2017 LG went from having a 2 layer stack of OLED emitters behind each sub-pixel to a 3 layer stack. Theoretically, the Green and Red emitters in 2017 models only have to work half as hard as the ones in a 2016 set to produce the same amount of brightness. (See the following diagram from
)


(2) LG changed the pixel structure in 2017 to increase the aperture of the sub-pixels. A bigger aperture means that the amount of light emitted per unit of area goes down to achieve the same level of brightness. This could again improve the lifespan of the OLED emitters.
 

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