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December 13, 2021

Are Printed 8K TVs Coming?

At the DTC Conference in Shenzhen, TCL China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) has shown a 65″ OLED 8K TV prototype fabricated using an inkjet printing technology – a world’s first. Display printing technology has been developed for over a decade, with the first low volume monitor-sized display supposedly coming to market now.

TCL CSOT’S 65-INCH INKJET-PRINTED 8K OLED PANEL. SOURCE: TCL / EET CHINA

CSOT says they have spent seven years and $7B to develop the inkjet printing technology. Their partner in developing TV-sized OLED panels is Japan-based JOLED – the company has announced monitor-sized printed OLED panels for high-end applications, but they may not yet be shipping, sources suggest. According to presentation materials from a European TCL press event in November 2021, CSOT is set to begin production at an 8.5 Gen fab in Shenzhen dedicated to OLED printing, with mass production slated for 2023. It will feature an Oxide backplane, but the slide suggests that RGB IJP or QD-OLED type display could be produced there.

QD-OLED displays feature a blue OLED layer that can activate red and green quantum dot patterned pixels to offer a complete color approach. Recent reports suggest that Samsung Display will begin mass production in December 2021 and that Samsung Electronics and Sony will offer TVs with this technology in 2022. Both will likely show off new sets at CES 2022, possibly with 8K TV models.

While current printed OLED panels are more expensive than alternative manufacturing methods, researchers believe they can be lower cost as volumes scale. One key reason is the much more efficient use of expensive OLED materials. Currently, all OLED TVs use a blue-yellow OLED layers approach to emit white light coupled with RGB color filters.

Focusing ink jet printing on the 8K market may make sense for CSOT. Existing 8K TV sets from LG on BestBuy cost $20K for the 77″ and $30K for the 88″, which would allow for higher initial prices while still making some margin.

Dongsheng, founder, and chairman of Chinese consumer electronics giant TCL, said that CSOT revenue more than doubled yearly in the first three quarters. The company ranked first in the global high-end TV display screen market with 8K resolution and 120Hz refresh rates. Li made the remarks at the 2021 TCL CSOT global display tech-ecosystem conference held on Tuesday in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

Other innovative display technologies showcased at the event included a 49 “R800 5000+Zones MiniLED display module, 8″ unpolarized light, tiny radius 360° folding screen, and 125″ glass-based transparent direct-view MiniLED, and a 14” inkjet printing OLED rollable screen. More here.

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