The VR market, which amounts to US$10 billion including its software and hardware, is expected to expand more than seven-fold within five years. This is why global tech giants such as Samsung, Google and Facebook are promoting VR as their future growth engines. However, the biggest obstacle is screen quality. The realization of satisfactory VR requires picture quality which is more than three times better than that of an OLED display.
VR gadgets currently available in the market cause a headache when users wear them just three minutes. VR gadgets need picture quality that can eclipse that of smartphones in order to give users satisfactory VR experiences. This is because VR gadgets need to create a screen that can cover the range of vision with a display which is less than 20 centimeters long. Experts say that to get rid of dizziness, the image quality of VR display must be three times better than a UHD-class OLED with about 500ppi.
In addition, a VR display has to process visual data quickly. When an object moves on a screen, the object leaves an afterimage. It is important to do away with afterimages by raising speeds. As VR appears on a screen right before the eyes, a short afterimage can offend the eye, making users feel dizzy.
To make an improvement to this problem, experts say, a smartphone should be twice faster than the latest smartphone models. It is forecast that VR displays’ picture quality and speed will determine the final winner in the VR market.
Samsung Display and LG Display are moving fast for the development of better VR displays. They have already secured relevant technologies, and also are considering investment in setting up exclusive production lines. Samsung Display is researching technologies to enhance picture quality by drawing circuits more precisely although it still uses glass or plastic printed circuit boards as it does for smartphones.
LG Display is focusing on ways to replace current plastics and glass with silicon wafers. Silicon wafers are used as raw materials for semiconductors. They are more expensive than plastics or glass but realize more precise picture qualities. It is known that LG Display is conducting a feasibility study on the construction of a silicon wafer-based VR-only production line in a new OLED factory under construction in Gumi City, North Gyeongsang Province.
There are other hurdles to clear to popularize VRs in addition to VR displays. Exchanges of high-volume VR contents via the internet are contingent upon the commercialization of 5G networks which are more than 1,000 times faster than the current 4G networks. VR cameras still have a long way to go even though Samsung and LG launched their models. But experts say that VR will serve as a catalyst for a quantum jump of various kinds of technologies like the growth of the smartphone market