OLED TV could be about to get a lot cheaper as LG Display ups production

With LG's mobile and LCD wings in a bit of bother, more affordable OLED could be its best route to riches


LG may be currently making (rolling) waves with its Signature OLED R television but the near future might not be only about luxury sets that unfurl from a console table like a mighty scroll. One of my favourite websites, the must-read OLED-Info confirms that LG Display – the arm of LG that makes displays, in case you wondered – is to invest a whopping $10.6 billion in increasing its production capability for OLED. 

LG Display is also known to be looking into various other economies of scale to do with buying and cutting the glass for its various screens. 

Now, this might all sound very dry to you, but think of it like Age of Empires. LG is building more factories, so it can produce elite TV units to wage war on rival TV brands (although also to make money from them, since LG sells its panels to all its main rivals to use in their TVs). Hopefully, while they're building these factories, another TV empire won't invent the nuclear missile, and wipe them out. That always happens to me in Age of Empires.

This could mean real benefits for punters, and soon, because LG is in a hurry. Of that $10 billion investment, the lion's share – $7.1bn – is being spent in 2019. Perhaps tellingly, it is making no such investment in LCD, but 40% of the money will go towards upping production of smaller, P-OLED (plastic OLED) screens*. 

Overall, LG's OLED capacity will almost double, from 70,000 TV-sized panels per month to 130,000. 

Today, OLED is still an expensive, early adopter's technology. However, it has been around long enough for many of its technical problems to be ironed out, and prices are already coming down – LG has driven this, both with its own TVs, and by selling LG Display OLED panels to other TV manufacturers, such as Philips and Panasonic.

There could soon be more OLED TV bargains such as this £999 Philips POS9002

OLED TV prices are already coming down fairly rapidly – Curry's has this Philips one with Ambilight for £999 with a simple voucher code – and the OLED business is already turning a profit for LG Display. This move could mean that 4K, HDR OLED TVs, with their fantastic colour, contrast and motion management will come within reach of more and more shoppers hungry for an upgrade.

We don't think LG's rollable TV will suddenly be turning up at Richer Sounds with a hefty discount any time soon, however.

*P-OLED is the slightly bendy type of plastic screen used in some smartphones and other gadgets. That is not to be confused with the fully bendy screens required for the Samsung Galaxy X and other foldable phones.

Duncan Bell

Duncan is the former lifestyle editor of T3 and has been writing about tech for almost 15 years. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. His current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."