Samsung Begins Mass Production of 15.6-inch UHD OLED Panel in February

Subject: Displays | January 23, 2019 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: UHD, Samsung, oled, notebook, mass production, laptop, displays, 4k, 15.6 inch

Samsung Display has announced development of a 15.6-inch 3840 x 2160 OLED display panel which they are calling "the world’s first UHD display for the notebook/laptop market". And mass production of the panel will begin in mid-February, "initially for use in premium notebooks produced by leading manufacturers".

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"The new OLED panel, as unveiled by Samsung Display, is equipped with a wide range of cutting-edge functionality including a contrast ratio of exceptional quality, as well as extreme color accuracy, full HDR compatibility, a very wide color gamut, and remarkable outdoor visibility, all of which are considered essential specifications for tomorrow’s premium notebooks.

The new panel features a brightness level ranging from 0.0005 to 600 nits, and a dynamic contrast ratio of 120,000:1. Compared to LCDs, black color appears 200 times darker and whites twice as bright, maximizing the benefits of HDR to deliver the utmost in high-resolution video and images.

The new display provides a spectrum of 3.4 million colors (double that of similarly sized LCD panels), which allows for truly life-like images, with colors meeting the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives)-P3 standard, the specification best suited for video streaming. The 15.6-inch UHD panel is designed to keep the complete DCI-P3 color gamut fully intact while emitting significantly less blue wavelengths that can potentially be harmful to the eye, making images easier to view even after prolonged use."

Based on the mention of "a dynamic contrast ratio of 120,000:1" I have to wonder if this panel will function differently from OLED screens which as emissive displays have a black level of zero, and thus offer virtually infinite contrast (though "dynamic contrast" is an effect in the control panel of LG OLEDs, for instance). For a practical implementation of a technology that has been criticized in use as a computer monitor it will be interesting to see what - if any - concessions have been made to adapt OLED for use with laptops beyond what we initially saw from Lenovo with the X1 Yoga's OLED option.

For more about this new panel you can read the full press release available here.

January 23, 2019 | 02:08 PM - Posted by Jgr9 (not verified)

Did Allyn ever notice any burn-in from his Yoga?

January 23, 2019 | 04:14 PM - Posted by Jeff G Murray (not verified)

Isn't HDR supposed to be ca. 1000 nits?

What's the refresh rate of the screen?

January 23, 2019 | 05:47 PM - Posted by tmanini (not verified)

They are following the VESA DisplayHDR standard. Check out their site for detailed info.
The 600nit mark is for professional/enthusiast level laptops and monitors. Whereas the 1000 level is intended for monitors alone. All levels but the minimum 400 level require local dimming.

January 24, 2019 | 12:06 AM - Posted by James

There is bunch of different standards and certifications. I don’t know if this UHD premium certification is still being used, but it explains some of the different standards applied to LCD vs. OLED. The main thing that is important is the actual real contrast ratio, not necessarily the brightest the display can go.

600 nits sounds quite good for an oled, if it can actually do it. It may be limited to smaller parts of the screen and such. Rtings has test that check the achievable brightness for certain percentages of the screen. I have a samsung q6f tv (QLED) and HDR content from YouTube looks great. It isn’t oled level quality, but it was quite a bit cheaper and no possibility of burn in. I wouldn’t recommend samsung TVs though. It turns out that they have really bad WiFi for some reason. It drops the connection and will not reconnect. I will probably need to run a cable. I was tempted to take it back. It has to be rebooted or reset to get the WiFi connection back. I should have gotten the Sony with quantum dots instead. It was about $200 more, but it had a full array rather than edge lit backlight.

Anyway, hdr can produce incredible images, so I want hdr everywhere as soon as possible. The standards are such that the cameras and the displays will be limiting factors which probably hasn’t been the case with SDR for a long time. The quality of hdr video can vary quite a bit because of that. Some of the stuff labeled hdr on YouTube isn’t actually hdr, which is a bit bogus. The Dolby vision standard is probably massive overkill. I don’t think they can even make a reference display for Dolby Vision yet, so content would still be created on what is closer to an HDR10 refrence display. They do have very expensive hdr10 refrence displays, but consumer level sets aren’t really that close to full hdr10 yet.

January 25, 2019 | 02:44 AM - Posted by Martin (not verified)

HDR comes from photography is/was defined by getting the dynamic range of captured images/footage to the level that human eye can see. in HDR photography, it is defined by stops and human eye can see 10...14 stops. Stop by definition maps to contrast with 2^n, so 10...14 stops is the range of 1:1000 to 1:16384. Obviously, the goal is to aim for the higher end of that range.

So, the goal should be to get contrast up as far as possible. Bit depth increase to 10/12-bit will have to follow.

Cameras can already do well enough but screens are a problem.
- IPS (and TN which is irrelevant for HDR) can do 1:1000
- VA can do 1:3000-1:5000
- OLED contrast is effectively infinite.

When it comes to HDR video, things get muddy and certifications and such may get mixed with business interests. DisplayHDR has got it mostly right in theory but since display technology is what it is, in practice we get FALD at best and some stupid form of dynamic contrast at worst.

Brightness is somewhat overrated. 1000 nits is more than enough. Since contrast has two variables - brighness and blacks - getting as dark blacks as possible would be a better goal but this has technical hurdles for doing this with LCD technology and it is easier to just crank up the backlight. OLED is the other side of spectrum, its black is excellent but getting brightness high enough is a struggle.

There is research into getting new technologies manufacturable but this will take years. MicroLED has density issues in terms of using in TV/monitors. Doubling the panels to block more backlight was tried by Panasonic a few years ago, now Vizio is giving it a shot.

The next paragraph is purely my opinion so feel free to disagree.

Which technology works better depends a lot on the environment as well. If you watch stuff in a bright sunlit room, dark tones (and thus OLED) are less apparent and cranking up the brightness will create a more impressive picture. In dark or dim room there is very little LCD can do today to compete with OLED. Quantum dot FALD TVs come close (at a price that is not too far from OLED) but ghosting can ruin the impression.

January 26, 2019 | 10:39 PM - Posted by chipman (not verified)

High Dynamic Range meant for idiots!

No one can physically bear an extreme high intensity of light or sound pressure (cf. idiophiles) that's why the human body adapt itself when it can via the iris for light (i.e. dynamic compression) but can't for sound.

Like you said a better black could in theory be useful but watching things in the darkness wear the eye forcing the adaptation.

Actually there is no "best" display technology but certain are more comfortable for some specific usages and worth their price.

IMHO the LCD display technology is here to stay as long as the CRT one in spite of promising technology such as MiniLED or OLED way too expensive for its durability! Beside, FALD if implemented correctly, could propose a good compromise.

January 24, 2019 | 01:42 AM - Posted by Hakuren

I don't want to bash the incredible technology behind this feat, but still my first thought was - Why? with What for? next.

You can hardly see anything on 17" 4K display and what effective work you can do on a 15" 4K display? So yeah you will crank up scaling to 300-400% which will be the same as 1080p.

It is not as silly as 4K display on a mobile phone, but still pretty close. Perhaps if you're 15 yo and have plenty of time to destroy your eyes yeah, sure 15" 4K display make sense.

Take Wacom Cintiq16Pro (16"/4K). You can't do anything without scaling. In native res icons are size of 3 grains of sand and menus complete blur. Miniaturization is good but you shouldn't cross threshold of utter silliness.

January 24, 2019 | 09:20 AM - Posted by Spunjji

1) It's 200% scaling to get the same sized display elements as a 15" 1080p display, not 3-400%. This works really well in practice because it's integer scaling - your worst case scenario is some old apps looking blocky because they're "only" rendering at 1080p.

2) When you turn up the scaling your icons, text and other non-bitmap display elements still render at 4K. You can notice the difference quite clearly, and small fonts in particular are much more legible.

3) Tasks like photo and video editing benefit tremendously from the increase in spatial resolution. With photographs it gets you closer to how the image would look as a print, and you can get a better idea of what is in focus without constantly having to zoom in and out of the image.

I use a laptop with a 17" 4K display as my main computer and previously had a 15.6" 4K device, so I've worked this way for a couple of years now.

January 24, 2019 | 11:32 AM - Posted by chipman (not verified)

Samsung pretending to mass produce next month expensive with low durability tiny 15.6" UHD OLED panels but no mention to any R E A L product or its T R U E clients (i.e. laptop manufacturers)... that's simply a big J O K E!

February 2, 2019 | 06:56 AM - Posted by Anonymouscr (not verified)

Ehmmm contrast for brightness 0.0005 to 600 should be 1.2 M,not 120k.and whats those 3.4 million colors related to when mentionng the " double than similarly sized laptop". Many current laptop screens have real 8 bpc screens making them cabaple to display 16.7 M colors

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