Truth Patrol: $229.99 22″ OLED Monitor

HDTV Truth Patrol

A tip of the hat to DisplaySearch for spotting this one.

When it comes to cutting edge technology, you may not think of Target first. Yet if you go to the company’s Web site, you’ll find a listing for a 22″ Widescreen OLED Monitor. Now that alone would be enough for a stop-the-presses news alert, but then get this: it only costs $229.99. For a large OLED device, that’s stunning! It’s only about 10% of the price that Sony and LG have charged for their smaller OLED televisions. How can Target possibly to do it?

The answer may be obvious by now; Target has misidentified the item. It’s actually an LCD monitor made by AOC (Model e2237Fwh). The source of the confusion appears to be that the monitor uses an LED backlight instead of the traditional cold-cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL). So the Target copywriters just drove the train straight off the tracks and into the ditch when they called it an “OLED Monitor”. An OLED display emits light without the need for any other light source. The only high resolution LED displays are the giant screens used on billboards and in sports stadiums. LCD displays use a liquid crystal layer as shutters to block or transmit light, and need a backlight in most cases. (The main exception is a reflective LCD, which uses ambient light that reflects behind the liquid crystal layer.) And the backlights that are used are either CCFL or LEDs. Most notebooks, many monitors, and an increasing number of LCD televisions use LED backlights.

The whole question of “LED displays” is confused enough thanks to Samsung, Toshiba, and others who use this term to describe LCD displays with LED backlights. Now Target has taken the whole ball of confusion one step further by equating “LED” with “OLED”. No wonder people can’t make sense out of all this.