When it comes to technology, new advancements mean that previous models become more affordable, and functionality improves over time. With computer monitors and televisions, some of the biggest leaps included transitioning from clunky cases to slim flat screens. And now that LED screens and 4K resolutions are the norms, the next big thing on the horizon is OLED. But while this impressive tech is beginning to become more widely available, so far it’s somewhat limited to televisions rather than modern computer monitors for gaming. And ultimately, this has led to many people wondering why OLED monitors are so hard to find and when the scarcity will end.

What is OLED technology?

OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode and it’s a display technology that results in a brighter and more efficient visual output. More importantly, it allows for a thinner screen and bezel along with being significantly lighter. OLED offers better refresh rates and contrast as compared to LCDs.

The technology is currently powering televisions and smartphones — which is where a lightweight screen alternative to traditional LEDs can be seductive. Along with more vibrant colors, you’ll get truer images for a better viewing experience.

But There Are Drawbacks

For everything great about the visual quality and lightweight nature of OLED displays, there’s one major drawback — burn-in. Burn-in refers to a pixel that’s overused to the point where it loses brightness over time. But specifically, burn-in can create ghosting where areas on the screen are permanently discolored. This is especially an issue for computer monitors where static images on a screen are more common. In particular, header and footer bars, as well as file icons may remain for longer periods and result in burn-in.

However, for televisions and smartphones where images are constantly changing on the screen, the risk for burn-in is significantly less. And to that end, premium smartphones and tablets from brands like Apple and Samsung have been incorporating OLED displays for a while now.

Related Posts:

The Computer Monitor Conundrum

While OLED-related burn-in isn’t a serious issue for smartphones or televisions, it’s a major problem for computer monitors. This is because unlike with other devices, it’s not uncommon to have fixed content on a computer screen. Everything from taskbars to file and program icons may sit statically for hours, ultimately accelerating pixel degradation and the risk of burn-in. And to-date, even manufacturers like LG Electronics, Asus, HP, and Dell have all struggled to prevent burn-in on computer monitors.

So Where Are the OLED Monitors?

Although OLED computer monitors aren’t as common as an OLED television, they are out there. One of the first monitors was created by Dell in 2017. Likewise, Asus released its OLED monitor in 2019. And one of the most popular OLED monitors on the market comes from LG Electronics, and the brand plans to expand its offerings with a 27-inch OLED monitor. However, this premium tech comes with a serious price tag.

Related Posts:

Why Are OLED Monitors So Expensive?

There are two factors at play that’s preventing OLED display technology from making the full jump to monitors. Along with the higher risk of burn-in is the fact that televisions and smartphones outperform computer monitors in sales. More people buy OLED televisions and smartphones than those that buy an OLED monitor. And this translates to higher production costs that would ultimately get passed on to the consumer. High costs and lower demand mean that electronics manufacturers aren’t prioritizing the OLED monitor niche.

Who Should Use an OLED Monitor?

If you’re simply typing up reports and browsing the web, an OLED monitor might be more tech than you need. Because many of these monitors boast 4K resolution, they’re best reserved for people who work in graphic, post-production, and design-related fields. One workaround to consider is buying an OLED display and using the HDMI input to connect it to your computer. Still, burn-in will be a concern.

Tip: One workaround to consider is buying an OLED display and using the HDMI input to connect it to your computer

Also note that while OLED monitor roll-outs have been sluggish, OLED display laptops are a growing niche. Samsung is leading the charge with a 15.6-inch display and potential plans to release smaller OLEDs for a wider range of laptops.

STAT:

Although its name looks similar, the OLED is fundamentally different from its cousin the LED used for general lighting and for which the Nobel Prize was awarded in 2014. (source: Wikipedia)

Chemists Ching Wan Tang and Steven Van Slyke at Eastman Kodak built the first practical OLED device in 1987. (source)

Sources:

https://www.oled-info.com/oled-monitor

https://www.oled-info.com/tags/burn-image-retention

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OLED

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/04/24/business/tech/ahead-next-iphone-idemitsu-kosan-leads-way-developing-oled-screen/

OLED Monitor Current Market Status FAQ

How long will an OLED display last?

This is going to depend on the manufacturer. But according to LG Electronics, their OLED displays are guaranteed for 100,000 hours or roughly 30 years of use before needing to be replaced.

Why are there no OLED gaming monitors?

This is mainly because OLED panels don’t have high refresh rates. Gamers should prioritize a 75 Hz or higher refresh rate and, to date, OLEDs can’t meet this baseline metric.

Can you use an OLED TV as a monitor?

These days most TVs are equipped with HDMI input ports. So, it’s possible to use an OLED TV as a computer monitor.

Dorian Smith-Garcia

Dorian Smith-Garcia is a bridal and beauty expert/influencer and the creative director behind The Anti Bridezilla. She is a diverse writer across beauty, fashion, travel, consumer goods, and tech. She also writes for Inverse, Glowsly, and The Drive along with a variety of other publications. When Dorian's not writing she's collecting stamps in her passport, learning new languages, or spending time with her husband and daughter.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *