Thinking of buying an OLED - read this first...

It may surprise some people that Autocue, known worldwide as the leader in broadcast, educational and corporate teleprompting, is also highly experienced in providing broadcast quality reference monitors. We’ve parlayed our experience in quality prompting screens to specify the manufacture of broadcast monitors for OB trucks, vision galleries and QC/machine rooms, and we recently launched a range of highly specified 24-inch monitors for edit and grade suites that offer class-leading performance when compared to the major brands. The feedback has been effusive, with many expressing a high degree of satisfaction with image reproduction, sharpness and the quality of blacks and whites.
But that begs the question, “Where do we go from here”? Some have suggested that the next step may be a move similar to some of the larger players into OLED.
For the uninitiated, OLED stands for “Organic Light Emitting Diode”, which, as opposed to LCD, works without a backlight and can therefore be very light and thin. This is an undoubted advantage. Unfortunately, it’s an advantage that comes at a price.
It’s true that, for those with deep pockets, OLED monitors offer an outstanding level of deep black performance, which means that there is a high contrast range; short rise and fall times enable fast scrolling objects to been seen very clearly; a wide colour gamut means colours can be maintained at a low intensity; and, finally, they don’t weigh much.
These advantages are, almost literally, worth their weight in gold, but the flip side of that gold coin reveals some issues that may give pause to those about to pony up with their chequebook.
Because no other display technology can match the black performance of OLED, OLED screens need to be “offset”, which, in practice, means made worse to mimic existing technology or else the black detail you and your client can see so clearly in the edit suite will be lost on viewers who are not watching OLED displays, which includes most people today. There is some evidence that new OLED televisions will find their way to the marketplace in 2012, but manufacturers may find it difficult to sell a new television or studio monitor for many thousands of pounds when so many have only recently shelled out for HD and, increasingly, 3D-ready screens.
And speaking of high definition, the gamut range stipulated by ITU-R Recommendation BT.709 or “REC709” as it’s commonly known, for HDTV is standardised well within the range achievable by OLED or LCD, so unless you’re working on feature films your monitors have no need for the extra range of colour gamut available with OLED.
I mentioned fast scrolling earlier, and it does look very good indeed on an OLED but, again, people tend to forget that what looks good on an OLED screen isbeyond the displayable capabilities of any other screen technology. What you see is not what you get. In short, it’s a performance “enhancement” that cannot actually be used!
And did I mention that OLED’s are expensive? Just looking around the marketplace it seems you can pick up a single Grade 1, 25-inch OLED monitor for around £25K. And how many of them did you say you needed, sir? (By comparison, the same amount of money could buy five of Autocue’s 24-inch G-Series monitors. Just sayin’.)
Unfortunately, current poor factory yields mean that pricing is unlikely to improve in the short term. That’s not to say that Grade 1’s will always be the only level on offer. Grade 2 OLED panels are entering the market tagged as the “broadcast range” at slightly more realistic price points, but guess what? They will also include many more dead pixels than the Grade 1 panels. There. I said it. Even Grade 1 OLEDs will most likely have dead pixels once the first few hand-selected demo panels turn into regular production.
And, they flicker - tiresomely! And their colourimetry drifts more rapidly, mandating expensive probes to recalibrate them, and…well, you get the picture.
So if you’re going to get the picture in a package that far outperforms its price point, my suggestion is that you take a look at more cost-effective alternatives. We’ll keep a watching brief on OLED as the technology matures, but we’ll be watching on Autocue monitors.

Tags: autocue | iss059 | oled | lcd | oled monitor | rec709 | bt.709 | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Autocue at BVE 2015

    Autocue at BVE 2015

  • Autocue DSLR Prompter using iPad at IBC 2013

    Autocue DSLR Prompter using iPad at IBC 2013

  • Autocue at NAB 2013

    Autocue at NAB 2013

  • Autocue at BVE 2013

    Autocue at BVE 2013

  • Autocue at BVE North 2012

    Autocue at BVE North 2012

  • Autocue at IBC 2012

    Autocue at IBC 2012

  • Autocue at NAB 2012

    Autocue at NAB 2012

  • Autocue at BVE 2012

    Autocue at BVE 2012

  • Autocue at BVE North 2011

    Autocue at BVE North 2011

  • Autocue at IBC2011

    Autocue at IBC2011

  • Portaprompt at IBC 2015

    Portaprompt at IBC 2015

  • AQ Broadcast at NAB 2014

    AQ Broadcast at NAB 2014

  • aQ Broadcast Production Suite at BVE 2014

    aQ Broadcast Production Suite at BVE 2014

  • Local TV debate at BVE North 2012

    Local TV debate at BVE North 2012

  • Pixelution at BVE North 2011

    Pixelution at BVE North 2011

  • Ikegami HQLM-3120W monitor at IBC 2016

    Ikegami HQLM-3120W monitor at IBC 2016

  • Murraypro at IBC2011

    Murraypro at IBC2011

  • Marshall Electronics at IBC2011

    Marshall Electronics at IBC2011

Related Shows
  • NAB 2013 Day 2

    NAB 2013 Day 2

Taking on a self employed placement year
Joshua Round The idea of being self-employed or freelancing has always been somewhat terrifying for me. There is a level of uncertainty and responsibility that comes with the freedom of being self-employed, the likes of which makes me wonder why I chose to give it a go for my placement year as part of my university course - (BSc) Television and Broadcasting.
Tags: iss133 | placement year | university | student | education | portsmouth | Joshua Round
Contributing Author Joshua Round Click to read or download PDF
Creating Authentic Content That Counts
Frank le Mair We’re deep into the 2010’s and the way in which we consume content has changed forever. Broadcasters and content owners are fighting for eyeballs in a saturated market where consumers are watching their favourite shows on different devices across a number of platforms. To target millennials and younger generations, who generally consume short bursts of video on YouTube and social media - particularly Snapchat, Instagram and now IGTV - media companies are creating more and more authentic stories and are using platforms that are compelling for this demographic. Unlike generations before them, they have totally new video viewing patterns and ideals.
Tags: iss133 | insight tv | monster energy | amazon | millennial | Frank le Mair
Contributing Author Frank le Mair Click to read or download PDF
Perimeter LED screens management
Nicolas Houel Opened in January 2016, Parc Olympique Lyonnais, also known as Groupama Stadium, is the new home of Olympique Lyonnais football club, one of the most popular clubs in France. Since its inauguration, the stadium was a host of UEFA Euro 2016, and was also chosen to stage, among other important events, the 2018 UEFA Europa League Final and football at the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Tags: iss133 | 3dstorm | graphics | groupama stadium | liveexpert | livecg | deltacast | Nicolas Houel
Contributing Author Nicolas Houel Click to read or download PDF
The Pace of Change
Dick Hobbs - new

The youngest human to stand on the moon (so far) was Charles Moss, the lunar module pilot of Apollo 16. Charlie had a wonderful claim: his father witnessed the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, and lived to see his son on the moon.

Does anything capture the speed of technological advance better than that? The whole of the history of powered flight in one lifetime.

Tags: iss133 | state of the nation | st2110 | st2110-10 | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Managing Technological Change
Alan Wheable Continual technological change in the broadcast and media industries can make it difficult to plan for the mid to long term. Typically, broadcasters and media organisation are still implementing the last set of changes to working practices when the next changes come along.
Tags: iss133 | omnitek | ip | waveform | vectorscope | ultra tq | Alan Wheable
Contributing Author Alan Wheable Click to read or download PDF