More turbulence in the OLED display business – with a significant Chinese manufacturer bailing on the tech after only a year, and switching back to LCD.
Hisense, which is mainly known for TVs but has a commercial displays business unit, has indicated that the OLED TV it debuted last year was the first and last. The company is going to focus, at least in the premium TV market where OLED plays, on its ULED-XD TVs.
ULED involves a second LCD layer – a greyscale LCD – that sits between a TV’s 4K panel and the LED backlight, creating deeper blacks and delivering OLED-quality visuals, at way less cost than OLEDs. TVs are normally a single LCD layer, but adding a second one – Hisense discovered – blocks light and improves contrast.
OLEDs struggle with brightness, which can affect the volume of color, but the Hisense’s ULED panels generate more than 2,900 nits of brightness, which is darn-near good enough to be daylight-readable.
I saw a dual layer ULED at one of the trade shows I was at last year – SID maybe, probably – and it was gorgeous.
It is reasonable to think there is a commercial market for this technology, competing with LG’s OLEDs and Samsung’s QLEDs (also LCD, with a Quantum Dots filter added as a layer). We have not seen a lot of Chinese commercial displays in the North American market, but with Taiwan’s AUO now owning ComQi, and STRATACACHE partnered with BOE, that is changing.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.