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You have to wait until 2020 to buy a cheaper OLED TV

Do you have an eye for one of those expensive OLED televisions? Although premium TV panel technology has remained out of reach for those on a modest budget, that could soon change.

An analyst at IHS Markit (via Digitimes) has suggested that changes in production methods would lead to a sudden fall in prices in new OLED televisions, which would reduce the production costs of each set by 15-25%.

  • What is OLED?
  • Our choice of the best OLED TVs
  • Samsung versus LG TV: which TV brand is better?

The new production method uses inkjet printed panels (IJP), effective & apos; printing & apos; OLED panels between glass panels, instead of traditional white OLED & apos; (WOLED) panels that can be found in today's OLED televisions – such as the LG E9, LG C9 or Sony A8F – and that require a material-intensive production process.

Chase LI, a senior analyst at IHS Markit, said: "Despite years of competition with LCD ' s on the market for high-quality displays of all sizes, the market penetration of OLED remains limited due to high production costs."

Li added that "IJP has the ability to dramatically reduce production costs, making OLED ' s more competitive with LCD ' s in products such as televisions and monitors for computers and tablets."

A price reduction of 15-25% may not sound so drastic – we have seen larger discounts on new OLEDs a few months after release – it is actually a fairly large price difference if you look at the four-figure amounts where OLEDs ' s currently selling. While a 15% discount on a £ 500 / $ 500 / AU $ 700 TV is not such a saving, the same discount on £ 2,000 / $ 2,000 / AU $ 3,000 is certain.

Everyone does it

TCL develops its own inkjet printed OLED ' s (Image Credit: TechRadar)

The first company to start production in this way is JOLED from Japan, which is owned by Sony and Panasonic. Chinese companies are expected to follow this example in the near future.

We have previously discussed the potential of inkjet printing with TCL, with Europe Product Development Director Marek Maciejewski who said: "We see no future in terms of efficiency and clarity (for conventional OLED)."

Maciejewski said the inkjet process would "avoid the problematic evaporation technique" currently used to make WOLED panels, and would be "more accurate" with "less waste (and) lower prices" – adding that he believed "All major OLED manufacturers are developing these. "

The capacity to scale this method should increase the OLED capacity about 12 times between 2020 and 2024.

OLED is dead, long live OLED

It is no secret that the main obstacle to OLED adoption is the stubbornly high prices of technology, largely limited by expensive production methods – and the first few production lines have not yet been scaled up to the size of most LCD factories.

The future of OLED will probably lie in how the current dominance of premium market technology can be exploited. We know that Samsung is working on a QD-OLED hybrid with self-emitting quantum dots, to combine the best of its QLED panels with the OLED competition.

We may see that IJP and conventional WOLED panels coexist for a while. IJP lowers production costs, but may not be reliable for long-term use or offers virtually the same image quality. Anyway, if it gives consumers a more accessible price tag for OLED, we are all for it.

  • QLED vs OLED: the two premium TV technologies compete with each other
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