Look, we here at 9to5Mac do not rule out the possibility of an Apple-branded television in the not-so-distant future, but at this point the realities of large-size OLED display manufacturing would make such a product prohibitively expensive. We’ve said it repeatedly – and now touch panel makers in Asia are pointing out as well – that OLED technology isn’t ready for prime time yet in large television displays, per this DigiTimes report.
Taiwan-based panel makers pointed out that Apple is unlikely to offer TVs using 55-inch AMOLED panels for the time being because development of large-sized AMOLED panels is not mature yet and therefore yield rates are low and production costs are high.
The report is in response to the last week’s rumor by the notoriously unreliable Smarthouse that Apple was procuring 55-inch AMOLED displays for an integrated television set apparently slated for late 2012. On the other hand, we know Apple’s been researching glass-less 3D displays featuring transparent OLED panels and a job listing in February had signaled intentions to implement OLED displays in future products. On the other hand, OLED TVs are not a matter of if, they are a matter of when.
LG Display’s CEO Kwon Young-soo told The Korean Times that his company “may release a 55-inch OLED TV set sometime in the latter half of next year”. LG Display wants to stop Samsung Electronics’ manufacturing grip on AMOLED technology and especially Samsung-improved version called Super AMOLED, which is featured on their high-end smartphones such as the Galaxy S family. Other players like Sony already make OLED TVs in very limited quantities. The Japanese consumer electronics giant will be using an OLED display for their upcoming Vita handheld console.
OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology entails the use of a film of organic compounds placed between two electrodes, emitting light in response to an electric current. Two types of OLED exist today: Passive-matrix (PMOLED) or active-matrix (AMOLED). The latter requires a thin-film transistor backplane to switch each individual pixel on or off, resulting in higher resolution and larger display sizes. OLED and AMOLED displays consume less power than their LCD counterparts, they are thinner and have higher refresh rates and are capable of rendering deep blacks and vivid colors. Samsung’s Super AMOLED adds another key advantage: It’s viewable in direct sunlight. In addition, first transparent AMOLED displays had been shown off at CES 2011. Apple was rumored courting Samsung for AMOLED displays for iPad 3, but it’s not very likely Samsung – with whom Apple’s embroiled in an ugly patent spat – would allow its biggest buyer to beat it to market with the world’s first AMOLED tablet.
Schematic of an active matrix OLED display from Wikipedia