TCL – one of the world's biggest TV makers, though still breaking out in some territories, including the UK and Europe – has announced that it plans to start producing its own OLED TV panels in 2023. This would make it the only big maker manufacturer of OLED TV panels other than LG, whose panels are currently used in all OLED models.
The announcement (via TechRadar (opens in new tab)) notes that TCL will be using its own way of actually creating the panels, which is different to method LG uses. TCL plans to use a system known as 'inkjet-printed panels', which… well, is pretty much what it sounds like. The OLED panels would be effectively printed on glass, which is much more efficient than current methods used for TV panels.
Better efficiency usually means cheaper, and TechRadar notes that some estimates of this production process put it as being up to 25% cheaper than current methods (though the costs of current methods are coming down anyway – LG's next-gen production facilities are already helping there, albeit slowly).
Of course, it will still have to be just as effective as the current tech and producing excellent images – OLED TVs take so many top spots in our guide to the best TVs, so the new tech has a high bar to live up to.
It's also the case that TCL's production method may bring the cost of OLED TVs down not just by being cheaper, but also by providing competition for the panel price. As we mentioned, there's only one maker of OLED TV panels right now, which isn't the ideal environment for a competitive market (even if there's plenty of competition in the TV models being made with those panels).
We'll see what happens with the TV market in the meantime, of course. LG's next-gen OLED evo panel has just arrived, and made a big splash, as our LG G1 review tells you. Mini-LED is also shaking things up already, as evidenced by our Samsung QN95A review – and TCL is already into Mini-LED (its best new model for the UK, the TCL C825, is picture at the top), so it's playing with every tool available. And microLED is poised to go mainstream at some point in the future. It's an exciting time for TVs!