TCL OLED TVs by 2023
TCL has been a quality and value leader for a couple of years now in LCD TVs. Their name has become synonymous with high-quality displays at reasonable prices. When people ask us for display recommendations, we often say TCL or Vizio. When we talk about displays, there are really only two types: LCD (with LED backlights these days) and OLED. OLED is not something that TCL has offered. But that is about to change.
TCL Is Developing a New Type of OLED Panel
The OLEDs currently on the market are what are called white OLEDs and are manufactured by LG. It doesn’t matter who you buy the OLED from, LG made the panel. You can’t undercut the competition if you have to buy your panels from the competition. Last year, TCL invested in a company named JOLED Inc. This investment is leading to large OLED panels that are ink-jet printed. This promises to be a less expensive way to create OLED panels than the white OLED panels from LG. TCL obviously believes that this will allow them to move into the OLED market at a competitive price point.
That said, they have promised to start manufacturing their own OLED panels by 2023. That doesn’t mean that you will be able to buy a TCL OLED that same year. But if TCL thinks they can make inroads into the OLED game, you can expect prices to be much lower than we’ve seen from any other manufacturer.
OLED isn’t the Largest Market, But It Should Be
According to TCL’s own Aaron Dew in an interview, OLED is only about 3% of the display market. As LED LCD prices are traditionally lower than OLED, this puts OLED as a premium product. When you are looking at displays on the floor of a big box store, it is very hard to tell why an OLED commands the increased price. But once you get them home, the differences are pretty significant.
We’ve talked about local zones of dimming with LCD displays before. This allows the LCD TV to turn off the backlight to make the dark scenes actually dark. OLEDs can turn off each individual pixel giving them far superior contrast and black levels. The thing that has held OLEDs back is their price. If TCL can introduce lower-priced OLED TVs, we could quickly see them overtake the LCD competition. That would be great for customers.
Currently, LG is the only manufacturer of OLED panels. If you buy a Sony OLED, there is an LG OLED panel in there. That’s not good for competition or prices. While other manufacturers are leaving the OLED market, TCL is looking to innovate. If their new ink-jet printed OLED panels can truly be made for cheaper, we can’t express how excited we are. Lower-cost OLED panels with TCL’s commitment to putting out quality displays…what’s not to like? While we won’t be seeing these anytime soon, getting more OLED options is a great thing.