This year's 42-inch OLED TVs could be less than $1000

This year's 42-inch OLED TVs could be less than $1000
(Image credit: LG / Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Sony)

This year's OLED TVs are set to be a lot less expensive than you think, particularly if you're looking to buy very big, or very small. In fact the best OLED TV bargain of 2021 is set to be anything in the 42-inch size which should come in at less than £1000/$1000. It all boils down to geometry.

According to the Advanced TV Display Cost Report report, unearthed by HDTVtest, an OLED panel manufacturing technology called MMG (multi-model glass) allows displays to be cut out of the large OLED substrate sheets in different orientations. The result is that LG Display can squeeze 10 42in TVs out of the same OLED sheet instead of just eight and that significantly reduces the cost-per-panel figure.

The key comparison, though, is that LG can only get six 55in TVs out of that same size of OLED substrate. That puts that cost price of each 42in panel at around $250 to produce while a 55in TV panel is closer to $375 – 50 per cent more.

So, with a 55in OLED TV at retail in 2021 thought to be around $1500, then we can reasonably expect its 42in sibling to come in at the magic $1000 mark, bringing OLED TVs firmly into a healthy midrange budget.

LG confirmed the 42in OLED panel offering back in January when announcing the 2021 LG TV line-up, although it remains to be seen which manufacturers will choose to sell an OLED at that size this year.

The same OLED display report from DSCC (Display Supply Chain Consultants) also indicates that 83in OLED TVs (as announced by LG and Sony) may not be as expensive as first though either. By the same geometrical analysis and MMG use, the thinking is that an 83in OLED display should even cost a little less than previous 77in OLEDs.

The cost of production of these OLED giants is thought to be $1150. The standard mark-up of 4-5 times – once other TV components, distribution and sales are factored in – should give a decent estimate of the ticket tag, although more luxury models like this may carry a separate premium of their own.

How all of this translate into the real world shop prices remains to be seen but the fact that LG Display is expecting to sell around 7-8m OLED panels in 2021 (nearly twice as many as in 2020) is decent indication that OLED TVs will indeed be more affordable than ever before. Happy days.


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Dan Sung

Dan is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi? and his job is with product reviews as well as news, feature and advice articles too. He works across both the hi-fi and AV parts of the site and magazine and has a particular interest in home cinema. Dan joined What Hi-Fi? in 2019 and has worked in tech journalism for over a decade, writing for Tech Digest, Pocket-lint, MSN Tech and Wareable as well as freelancing for T3, Metro and the Independent. Dan has a keen interest in playing and watching football. He has also written about it for the Observer and FourFourTwo and ghost authored John Toshack's autobiography, Toshack's Way.