When Will OLED Displays Become More Mainstream and Affordable?

So if you’re familiar with display technology, you would have heard about LCD, LED and OLED displays. I made a video a while ago detailing the key differences between each display technology and talking about which is the best in terms of image quality and which is the best value.

LCD display technology is now probably the most common display technology. LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. The previous widely known display technology was CRT. CRT stands for Cathode Ray Tube. You would have known the Cathode Ray Tube as the huge, heavy, large, eye straining and downright ugly old displays. The technology was used in computer monitors and televisions and had a lot of disadvantages and previously pointed out, however, most don’t know that the colours on a CRT display were true-to-life. Due to the phosphorous coating on the inside of the screen and the RGB (Red Green Blue) electron gun. Then came the plasma display (which many are confused about as it looks somewhat like an LCD). The plasma display was an equally heavy but much slimmer display. It offered the same advantage of true-to-life colour of the CRT, whilst moving more towards the slim form factor of an LCD. Plasma displays were typically not found under 32″ and were never really conventional for use on the desktop.

LCD had already come a long way at this point, laptops had been shipping for years with this (not as perfected as today’s) LCD technology. The primary reason that it took so long for LCD to become mainstream was due to the technology not being as tried and tested as CRT and plasma. LCDs of the past also consistently had problems replicating true-to-life colours, the contrast ratios were truly shameful, the refresh rates were too low and the backlight bleed-through was off the scale.

Pretty soon though by the early 2000s LCDs started becoming mainstream due to the company NEC making hugh breakthroughs in LCD technology. LCD technology is still used in LED and OLED displays. The fundamental difference is within the backlighting systems. Standard LCD displays use CCFL bulbs (just like the large fluorescent tubing in office lighting systems) whereas an LED display is simply a display that uses LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) instead of the conventional miniture fluorescent tubing. This LED backlighting typically will enhance the lighting of the image as CCFL bulbs will usually not emit light equally across the screen. LEDs are also more power efficient and are noticeably cooler to the touch. LEDs will typically not get dimmer over a period of time and will also last much longer than CCFL lighting.

OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology still very much works on the same principle as LED but is a bit more intuitive. OLED essentially follows images around the screen. So whereas LEDs and CCFL bulbs are placed 0n the outer edges of the screen, OLEDs are placed within the surface area of the display directly behind the liquid crystal. The advantage with this is that you get true blacks and insane contrast ratios. The image will also appear more defined and sharper to your eyes.

OLED technology is used in a lot of smartphones these days because it simply looks incredible. However OLED has only recently been deployed within televisions and monitors. This is because OLED displays use expensive materials and are much more difficult to assemble than traditional LCD displays with LED and CCFL backlighting systems. There is only two main disadvantages with OLED at the moment which is the high price tag and the glowing image problem. The glowing image problem only occurs in some screens and it is basically where light is bleeding though onto black surroundings, this can be seen sometimes if a half white and half black image is on an OLED display. On the edge of the white parts, you may see glowing as if it is fading into the true-black areas of the screen. This may discourage some to purchase these displays as the image will theoretically not look as sharp.

So with all this in mind, I would personally say that OLED displays will become mainstream and affordable within the next few years. I also believe that display technology as a whole will continue to advance rapidly and we will see many exciting display technologies within the next few years.