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LG plans to introduce 20-inch OLED panels this year

A promotional image for LG's larger OLED televisions.
Enlarge / A promotional image for LG’s larger OLED televisions.


LG plans to introduce a 20-inch OLED panel by the end of the year, and unlike most other offerings in this size, it will be used in consumer devices.

LG is the leading manufacturer of OLED panels for several other device categories, and the company has been making panels for watches, TVs, and smartphones—but this will be the first time the company will make OLEDs suitable for computer monitors or smaller televisions.

The news comes from South Korean electronics news site The Elec, which reported details from a speech to the Korea Display Industry Association by LG Display Vice President Kang Won-seok.

The executive also said the company is working on OLEDs for mixed reality devices, a new 77-inch transparent OLED size, and bendable OLEDs where the user can adjust the amount of curve on the fly.

It’s unknown when the 20-inch panels might make their way into devices you can buy, though. The statement that the panels will be ready at the end of 2022 likely means they’ll be available to consumer electronics companies that want to use them in their products, but it could take many months for those new products to reach store shelves.

If the panels have the same qualities as those that LG makes for televisions, though, this development could be big news in the computer monitor business.

Judging from objective testing by Rtings and other display tech reviewers, LG’s OLED TVs far outclass most desktop computer monitors on the market in all sorts of measures of picture quality, from contrast to gray uniformity. And recent LG OLEDs have competitive response times and refresh rates that make them good gaming displays, too.

Currently, most of the market for high-end computer monitors is either focused on color accuracy for creative professionals or ultra-fast response times and refresh rates for dedicated gamers—often at the expense of picture quality, in the latter case. The picture quality and consistency of most computer monitors are quite poor by TV and smartphone display standards.

For example, most computer monitors use LED technology but lack the local dimming tech in high-end LED TVs. This means that contrast ratios are comparatively low, and backlight bleed is a common problem. OLED sidesteps these issues. Further, PC gamers playing on desktop monitors usually miss out on the full effects of HDR (if it’s even supported), as few computer monitors can deliver the bright highlights that LED or OLED TVs can.

There have been some OLED monitors in laptops, and the past year has started to see some OLED desktop displays from others besides LG. The early signs are promising. As of this year, LG ships a 42-inch version of its OLED TV that has been popular with some high-end PC gamers. But that’s still too large to be practical for many people looking for a screen to use in that context.

Compromises may be made to manufacture the panels in these sizes, though, so we’ll have to wait until (likely) sometime next year to see what we’re getting. And this could just be the beginning. While 20-inch OLED panels would be suitable for some users, many will be holding out for larges sizes like 23, 24, or 27 inches.

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