LG Display’s New OLED Screen Beats Apple Vision Pro’s Pixel Density

To give VR headsets a visual upgrade, LG Display is developing a new kind of OLED panel that harnesses silicon chip manufacturing methods to boost on-screen pixel density.At the SID Display Week show in San Jose, California, the company is showing off a “micro OLED” panel that boasts an extremely high 4,175 pixel-per-inch density. For comparison, the Apple Vision Pro has a 3,386ppi.LG’s micro OLED panel can display up to 10,000 nits of brightness, producing colorful visuals on a screen that’s only 1.3 inches. According to LG, the new brightness level represents a 40% increase over existing standards. 

The demo of the micro OLED screen in headset form. (Credit: PCMag/Michael Kan)

The demo of the micro OLED screen showing fireworks. (Credit: PCMag/Michael Kan)

LG Display demoed the OLED technology in a headset form factor to show off the panel’s capabilities. We had a chance to try it out and found that the cutting-edge panel eliminated the “screen door effect” in VR, where you can see the lines to pixels along the display.     Unfortunately, our pictures can’t quite capture the visuals from the micro OLED panel since it was so bright. However, the company published a video that shows how the screen, which has a 3,840-by-3,840 resolution, can appear to human eyes. 

To create the screen, LG placed the OLED panel on a silicon wafer substrate rather than a glass or plastic backplane. This enabled the company to manufacture an even higher pixel density on the panel using today’s chip-making processes, which can etch transistors down to the nanometer levels over a silicon wafer. This also means the OLED panel is essentially sitting on top of a processor. On the downside, LG can’t scale out the technology to create a TV-sized panel since today’s chip-making technologies are designed to create bite-sized processors. But the approach shows potential for creating high-resolution displays for smaller products, like a VR headset. For now, the micro OLED panel tech is in the R&D phase, a company representative tells PCMag, making it unclear when or if it’ll launch. 

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At the Display Week show, LG Display also showed off another concept with the micro OLED panel that uses the 1.3-inch screen to power a 3D display in a smartwatch. The resulting images appear to pop off the screen, whether it be the weather or app icons. 

(Credit: LG Display)

The technology uses a built-in camera in the watch to sense the wearer’s location. The device then proceeds to beam different angles to the images on screen, one for your right eye and another for your left, creating the illusion of depth. It’s an interesting concept, but the 4K 3D screen may not be practical for real-world use. One problem is that you must position your face at the right position and distance or the watch will display a warning that says “Out of FOV or Too many people,” which could annoy the wearer.

(Credit: PCMag/Michael Kan)

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