In another step in the television’s evolution from its grainy, black-and-white beginnings, a new generation is on the horizon: the organic light emitting diode (OLED) TV.
Ron Mertens, spokesperson for industry resource OLED-Info.com, explains that OLED pixels create colored light, meaning OLEDs don’t need a filter. Because liquid crystal display (LCD) technology does require filtration, OLEDs draw only a fraction of the power needed to run LCDs. Plus, it’s easier to make OLED displays flexible, transparent and superthin—highly desirable characteristics to today’s consumer. The technology is already popular for small-screen cell phones and MP3 players, and the potential for use in home lighting is huge.
“The more OLED that gets out there, the better, because it has very low electromagnetic emissions,” says Mary Cordaro, president of H3Environmental, a healthy home consulting group. “We first save energy by switching to OLED. Then we get the extra benefit of that electricity being cleaner, as it tends to produce lower radiation from electromagnetic fields than other technologies.”
Scientists must address one of OLED’s biggest drawbacks before they can market large screens: The blue color display doesn’t last as long as red or yellow, effectively shortening the product lifespan. TV manufacturers are in the research and development stage with OLEDs, though Sony recently introduced an 11-inch model in Japan with a price tag of $2,500—and the 1,300 units sold out in one day.