Will OLED be the new LCD / PDP ?

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

When installing screens for Retail, Captive Audience and High Impact digital out of home, your AV folks have pretty much had the choice of: –

  • PDP
  • LCD
  • LED
  • Rear Projection Cubes

There is now a relatively new technology, called OLED or “Organic LED”, from which to choose.

Organic Light-Emitting Diode: a self-luminous diode (it glows when an electrical field is applied to the electrodes) that does not require backlighting or diffusers

OLEDs are made from carbon-based molecules and they overcome traditional LEDs biggest drawback (the individual size of the diode itself) – the carbon-based molecules are much smaller of course.

OLEDs should be able to compete with LCD and PDP at some stage over the next couple of years though it will be a long time before OLEDs can be manufactured cheaply enough to compete with large LED type displays.

People are excited by OLED as screens created using this technology should be brighter, thinner, lighter and faster than LCD / PDPs predominantly in use today. They are also claimed to have a much wider viewing angle.

There were some early prototypes of OLED TVs back at January’s CES 2007 Show in Las Vegas but Sony have now announced that on 1st December 2007, it will start selling the Sony Drive XEL-1 OLED TV.

It’s 3mm thin (yes 3 millimetres). This first product unfortunately only has a display size of 11 inches but it does boast a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and has a 960×540 pixel resolution.

It will cost around £850, which is a lot of money for a small screen TV and it has all the paraphernalia (Digital Tuner, USB ports, HDMI interface, remote control) that most signage projects seriously don’t need.

Still, I expect that many AV installers will be glancing an envious eye over the technology.

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