LG Will Start Mass Producing 48-inch 4K OLED Panels in 2020

Mike Wheatley

LG has just announced the launch of its biggest ever OLED TV, its monster-sized 88-inch Z9, but the company also says it wants to cater to those looking for a humbler 4K OLED model that can fit inside a normal living room more easily.


LG Display has hinted at its plans to sell a smaller, 48-inch 4K OLED TV for some time, and now its vice president has finally given us a rough idea of when that might happen.

Speaking to Chinese media, Oh Chang-ho said the company was planning to begin manufacturing 48-inch 4K OLED panels “next year”, though it’s still not clear when the first actual products will arrive.

"It’s a strategy to solidify our footing in the high-end TV market, while continuing to have presence in the standard and premium segments," Chang-ho told China Business News.

LG’s decision to make smaller OLED screens available should be welcome news to many consumers. After all, one of the biggest criticisms of the technology is that OLED panels are only available in a limited number of sizes; namely 55-inch, 65-inch, 77-inch and 88 inches, which means that every OLED TV is essentially a premium product.

Combine that with the fact that OLED panels are far more expensive to manufacture than their LCD equivalents, and it means that OLED TVs are priced out of the reach of many potential buyers. A smaller option could help to bridge the gap and make OLED more affordable to larger numbers of potential customers.

Another consideration is that some consumers who want to buy an OLED TV may not be able to fit one into their living rooms, and so a smaller option might just be the compromise they’re looking for.

It’s highly likely that LG won’t be the only company to start selling smaller 4K OLED models. The company is in a unique position in that it’s the only display maker capable of manufacturing TV-sized OLED panels in reliable quantities, and that’s given a it a monopoly on the market. Currently, it sells its OLED panels to rival brands including Philips, Panasonic, Sony, Skyworth, Bang & Olufsen, and others. Still, LG Display (which makes displays only) tends to show a preference to its sister company LG Electronics (which makes the actual TVs), so it will almost certainly be first to market with the smaller OLED TVs.

Chang-ho’s remarks came during a press tour in China, where the company has built a new 8.5G factory that’s intended to mass produce more OLED panels. The new facility is located in Guangzhou, and will almost double LG’s OLED production capacity from 70,000 substrates to 130,000 substrates a month. LG is also building a more advanced 10.5G facility in South Korea.

LG Display reckons it will sell around 4 million OLED TV panels this year, with approximately 400,000 of those going to China. Chang-ho added that the company hopes to sell as many as 1 million OLED panels to China in 2020, with worldwide sales approaching 7 million.

Photo: OLED-Info