OLED TV Technology Explained
OLED TV Technology Explained
Technology really is an interesting subject. If a new product were to be released today, chances are there would already be an even newer thing by tomorrow. On one hand, it’s awesome because it shows that we’re always striving to do better, and it gives us more options.
But on the other hand, it kind of makes it hard, because you’re then tasked with deciding whether or not that shiny new product is really worth it. It’s a keeping up with the Joneses effect so to speak. Of course this sort of progression applies all over the tech world, but it’s true even more so when it comes to television.
I mean think about it, how many television changes do you remember from just the last few years? First we had the revolutionary change from standard definition to high definition; relatively recent at that.
Everyone thought that this was the pinnacle of display technology, and that there was no way anything was going to top this. But you know what happened? That very thing.
Just a few years later, 4K formats were introduced with the capability of offering visual clarity 4 times that of HD. This was mind-blowing because it was improving upon something that already looked incredible.
Then came HDR, then expanded color palettes, etc. Industries from there kept rolling with the punches, with one big innovation after another. But one of the more interesting creations, is one that isn’t talked about nearly as much funny enough. What is it you ask? None other than OLED!
What exactly is OLED?
OLED is definitely one of the coolest technologies as of late. It stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. Think of it as the next big step past the typical LCD (liquid Crystal Display) TV’s that exist today.
What makes it so exciting is that it boasts the ability of having an infinite contrast ratio. Just as a refresher, a contrast ratio is the difference between the lightest and darkest elements on the screen. The bigger the difference (or contrast) between them, the better the picture.
So you can ascertain that by having one that’s technically infinite, is going to have some insanely huge benefits. The biggest change is that unlike the more common LCD or LED TV, an OLED does not use a backlight at all.
It functions entirely different. What it does instead to produce a picture, is pass an electrical current through a special type of chemical which then gives off a light itself. This allows for quite a few number of advantages over what’s available now.
Before I get to those though, you may wonder well okay, how’s it work exactly?
Well here’s the thing; I’m going to be perfectly honest with you. The answer to that can get pretty complicated all things considered. However, that’s not how we do things around here. I’m going to make sure that it’s not. 😉
How OLED Works
So within every OLED pixel, there exists a thin film that’s made of carbon.
This film is divided into 2 different sections called the emissive layer on top (the blue), and the conductive layer on the bottom (that’s the red)
The reason it’s split this way is because it allows a lot more efficiency when an electrical current flows through.
Then on the top and bottom, are two electrodes called an anode, and a cathode. They can be seen as the grey parts in the picture.
The anode (the grey rectangle at the bottom) is a conductor that has a positive charge, and sits in the conductive layer (that’s the red section).
The cathode is negative, and sits in the emissive layer (that’s the blue section). That’s the one that gives off electrons. You would think with the word emissive, it would be the one giving off electrons. Surprisingly, it’s actually the one that accepts them. Weird right?
So, how does this produce a picture? Well it starts when an electrical current flows from the cathode (the top) to the anode (the bottom)
When electrons travel from the conductive layer (the red section), it ends up leaving a hole from where they use to be. With no where to go, this hole travels up into the emissive (the blue section) where there’s extra space. The electrons that end up there, then fill in this hole.
As a result, there is an access of energy given off in the process. This extra energy is then given off as light. Whatever material is in the emissive layer will pretty much dictate the color of light shown.
Multiply that by a few million pixels and voila, you have a beautiful picture. Now believe it or not, that’s the simple explanation, but it’s really the crux of what’s important to understand.
There’s also two different types of OLED called PMOLED (Passive Matrix OLED) and AMOLED (Active Matrix OLED).
PMOLED works by turning on different rows of pixels at varying times. AMOLED works by turning on and off individual pixels. The latter is what’s preferred by manufacturers because it allows for a much better looking presentation all around.
Naturally, what one could extrapolate from that is that there’s probably some advantages to an OLED. I mean something that drastically different probably has to have some kind of merit, right?
You certainly wouldn’t be wrong in that assertion. Here’s what you need to know in case you’re interested one of these displays.
The Advantages With OLED
1. Infinite Contrast Ratio
With more traditional television sets today, a backlight within illuminates all of the pixels at once. Of course with techniques like local dimming, this number can be reduced, but as a whole, they’re all still mostly active at once.
Now with OLED, each individual pixel is turned on and off only when needed. This essentially makes the difference between the lightest and darkest elements on screen infinite. What this ultimately means for you is a picture that’s out of this world. Having seen them in person, believe me, they’re fantastic.
2. More Accurate Colors
Another rather interesting thing about them is that they include an extra pixel completely. Rather than the standard RGB (red, green, blue) layout, it includes an additional white pixel. This allows for a picture to not only be more accurate, but lets it show even more colors all together.
This would result in an image that’s impressively more dynamic than what was previously possible. It really is a tangible difference. But that’s not all it does though…
3. Better Viewing Angles
Ever sit off to the side of your TV and notice how different it looks? Almost washes it out right? Well that extra pixel fixes that. Better viewing angles are a huge benefit from this tech.
4. Energy Efficient
So yet another plus about being able to toggle pixels at will is just that, they can turn off completely. This means that the pixels not being used end up using less electricity, and thus, end up saving you power. Energy efficiency is a really attractive prospect, and that’s exactly what you’re getting here.
Disadvantages Of OLED
While there are some really awesome things to love, not everything is kosher. There’s certainly some downsides to be aware of as well.
1. The Blue Pixel Issue
A real issue that OLEDS have, has to do with their blue pixel. That material used tends to degrade a lot quicker than the ones used in the green, red, and white pixels.
This could mean a shorter lifespan overall. Fortunately, improvements have been made in this regard and isn’t nearly as much of an issue. Still this would be good to keep in mind.
2. OLED Is Somewhat Hard To Manufacture
The title speaks for itself; especially so with newer iterations. The entire process to produce one of these displays takes a while, and because of that, prices can be somewhat up there. In more recent years, they have dropped dramatically, but it’s really at the discretion of the manufacturer in terms of what they’re set at.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that OLED is an incredibly innovative piece of technology that makes the promise of changing how we watch TV forever. While things like price have initially marred widespread adoption, industries continue to progress in ways that will soon make that a reality.
With offers like infinitely deeper blacks, and more vivid colors, it’s hard not to be excited for something like this. It may not seem like it now but ultimately, I can see this becoming the new standard in just a few years.
But I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens right? Let me know what you think though. 😉
Hey everyone it’s nice to meet you. I’m Jasmere, the founder of Easy Home Theater. I’ve been with this hobby for many years now, and decided to create this site to share everything that I’ve learned from personal experience with you. I hope you find it helpful, and if you ever have any questions, be sure to reach out!