This year we saw various OLED televisions being launched. But none is as thin at this TV from LG. Labelled ‘Wallpaper’ but branded W7, the TV is a giant 65-inch OLED that is just 2.57mm thick. It is one of the thinnest TVs you have ever come across. It is hung on the wall using magnets.
“The OLED panel, measuring only 2.57mm thin in the 65-inch model, can be mounted directly on the wall with only magnetic brackets, eliminating any gap between the TV and the wall,” LG stated.
The firm called the approach of putting the screen flat on the surface a “picture-on-wall” experience. The screen is connected by a wire to a box with technical components and speakers for the TV. The W7’s screen is capable of playing HDR footage in addition to Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos surround sound. Other than this model, the TV comes in a 77-inch version as well.
LG also launched an array of other OLED televisions at the US tech show including the G7 (77-inch/65-inch), E7 (65-inch/55-inch), C7 (65-inch/55-inch) and B7 (65-inch/77-inch).
What is OLED and how does it work?
OLED, or Organic Light Emitting Diodes, are an offshoot of current conventional LED technology. LEDs are semiconducting light sources that function via electroluminescence—that is, they produce photons by plopping electrons into little electron holes in the device’s emissive layer. Electricity goes in and light comes out due to a semiconductuctive material, rather than a white-hot metal filament like an old-school lightbulb.
First successfully implemented in 1987 by Kodak researchers Ching W. Tang and Steven Van Slyke, OLED technology takes this same idea as LED, but flattens it. Rather than a variety of individual LED bulbs, OLED uses a series of thin, light emitting films. This allows the OLED to give out brighter light while using less energy than LCD/LED tech at the moment. As these light-emitting films are composed of hydrocarbon chains, rather than semiconductors laden with heavy metals like gallium arsenide phosphide, they get that “O” for “organic” in their title.
Why’s it so wonderful?
The LEDs in LED TVs at the moment are used just to provide a white back light, which then shines via a rapidly-refreshing LCD shutter array which tints the emanating light. OLEDs, on the other hand, operate as both light source and color array simultaneously. This may not appear to be a big difference, but does offer a plethora of benefits.
- Lower power consumption – An OLED display doesn’t call for any of the electronics and circuitry used to drive the LED back light and LCD shutter from a LED display, which makes it more efficient.
- Improved quality of picture- Since OLEDs incorporate their own color filters, they can produce deeper blacks and a wider gamut array.
- Better durability and lighter weight – Ditching the back light and shutter arrays also implies manufacturers can replace the heavier, shatter-prone glass substrates generally used in LED displays with lighter, stronger plastic substrates. The OLED films themselves are quite durable and can endure a wider operating temperature range compared to regular LEDs without failing.
- The price is going down – The ability to just print out OLEDs as you would a term paper or silk-screened t-shirt holds great technological potential. It’s also ridiculously costly at present but once roll-to-roll production capabilities are scaled up amply, the cost of spitting out an OLED panel should drop below what we’re paying to make existing generation LEDs.
What’s the catch?
OLED technology isn’t without its shortcomings. The major issue facing OLED at the moment is the fact that the material used to produce blue light degrades at a much faster rate than the other hues, which ultimately throws off the color balance and reduces the overall brightness of the display.