The Straits Times
Published on Dec 11, 2012

In pixel wars, LCD has staying power, refuses to die


SEOUL (REUTERS) - Liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens were expected to slowly fade and die, giving way to lighter, thinner and tougher organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels in everything from smartphones to televisions.

But LCD is refusing to go quietly as its picture quality keeps getting better. At the same time, the major backers of credit card-thin OLED panels - led by Samsung and LG - are struggling to make the technology cheap enough to mass produce. The two South Korean firms this year showcased 55-inch OLED TVs, but priced at around US$10,000 (S$12,221) - 10 times that of an LCD equivalent - they have yet to reach store shelves.

OLED displays, used on Samsung's Galaxy S and Note smartphones, have been touted as the future display model to replace LCDs across the consumer electronics spectrum - from TVs to computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. OLED is more energy efficient and offers higher contrast images than LCD, and is so thin that future mobile devices will be unbreakable, and will be able to be folded or rolled up like a newspaper.

But OLED panel makers have yet to address major manufacturing challenges to lower costs to compete against LCD panels.