By Jenny Donelan
LG Display Intensifies OLED Lighting Push
LG Display continues to promote OLED TV technology (see Product Briefs and Market Update) but has also been making a major statement in the OLED lighting market, with mass production commencing at its new Gen 5 OLED light-panel line in Gumi, Korea (Fig. 1), and the introduction of a new OLED light brand, Luflex. According to LG, the Gen 5 line (1,100 mm × 1,250 mm) has been producing about 15,000 sheets per month, an approximately 30-fold increase compared to the company’s previous Gen 2 line (370 mm × 470 mm), with a monthly capacity of 4,000 sheets.1
Fig. 1: LG Display’s new Gen 5 OLED light-panel production line, located in its facility in Gumi, Korea, commenced operations in the fall of 2017.
The company’s new Luflex brand name is derived from “lux” (light in Latin) and “flexibility,” reflecting OLED’s flexible, bendable, and rollable characteristics. The OLED light panels are very slim (0.41 mm thick), and their flexibility allows them to be fabricated in a variety of shapes, including curves or spirals (Fig. 2). OLED lighting panels have already been adopted for experimental applications by world-famous industrial designers including Ron Arad and Ross Lovegrove. LG Display has also started mass production of OLED tail lights for automobiles.
Fig. 2: LG Display has been placing additional resources behind the production of thin, flexible OLED lighting panels that can be used in a variety of architectural and artistic settings.
As a lighting source, OLED is considered to be easier on the eyes than conventional sources such as fluorescent and LED, as it offers great uniformity in its luminescence. It also exhibits very little temperature rise under normal conditions, meaning that it can be used to illuminate, for example, food displays or antique wooden furniture or buildings.
For the past five years, LG Display has hosted the international LG OLED Design Competition, a platform for designers and architects to incorporate OLED lighting into their designs. The 2017 competition focused on creative uses for LG Display’s 0.41-mm thick panels with a bending radius of 20 mm, and winners were announced in the categories of Lighting Design and Space Design.2
OLED TVs: Market Update
A recent report from IHS Markit noted that global shipments of OLED TVs grew 133 percent year over year (2016/2017), reaching a new monthly record of 270,000 units in November 2017. According to IHS, falling prices put 55-in. 4K OLED TVs into the budget range of a greater number of high-end holiday shoppers, with LG’s lowest-tier OLED model priced at $1,499.3
The following represent a small sample of products that were scheduled at press time to be shown at CES:
Should there be any doubt that LG Display is firmly behind the future of OLED TV, that doubt should be dispelled with the company’s announcement of its 88-in. 8K OLED display — the first of its kind, according to LG (Fig. 3). The company has revealed few details about the display, other than it has 33 million pixels (7,680 × 4,320) — four times more than UHD (3,840 × 2,160).
Fig. 3: LG Display’s new 88-in. 8K OLED display incorporates 33 million pixels.
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The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) recently announced that DP8K Certified DisplayPort cables — native DisplayPort cables that are guaranteed to support DisplayPort High Bit Rate 3 (HBR3) — are on the market. HBR3 is the highest bit rate (8.1 gigabits per second (Gbps) per lane) supported by DisplayPort standard version 1.4, and provides the speed required to drive 8K video resolution at 60 frames per second (fps) using a single cable, as well as multiple 4K displays.
In the augmented-reality arena are Vuzix Blade Smart Glasses from Vuzix, which won four International CES 2018 Innovation Awards prior to the show. Individuals can leave their phone in their pocket while the glasses present location-aware content from the phone. Retail and enterprise workers can use Vuzix Blade to scan barcodes, receive work instructions, take pictures, and use 2-way video streaming.
Samsung Electronics is adding to its signature curved display line-up with the debut of the new CJ791 monitor, the first curved monitor to feature Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. Designed for entertainment and business audiences, the 34-in. CJ791 model features a quantum-dot-enhanced LCD panel.