Where There's OLED Smoke, Is There OLED Fire?

Before we begin, to all of our South Korean readers, please do me a favor. Check to see if your TV is on fire. I'll wait here while you're gone. Let me know if I should call the fire department. I am standing by.

CLICKBAIT DISCLAIMER: This story of toasty TVs concerns some TVs sold in South Korea. The manufacturer claims that TVs sold elsewhere (in the US, for example) are not prone to this thermal malfeasance. But, let's remember that this is 2020 – the Year When Everything That Can Go Wrong, Has Gone Wrong. So, if this issue happened to some TVs in South Korea, it could happen to your TV. And since this is 2020, it probably will.

If you're like me, you wish you had more things to worry about. Don't get me wrong. Being carefree, and living in a world of unicorns and rainbows is nice, but sometimes you like to get a little weight-bearing exercise in your life. So, I kind of welcomed this bit of news regarding televisions and flambé. Well, not really.

Which, my South Korean friends, brings us to your TV. I didn't see any fire trucks in front of your house, so I'm assuming everything is okay. That is excellent. But if your TV happens to be an OLED TV manufactured by LG, you might want to check it again, periodically, if not constantly. I will explain.

The problem concerns TVs that are running hotter than they should; this naturally causes one to wonder if that might cause them to catch fire. In particular, there have been reports of LG OLED televisions sold in South Korea that run a tad too toasty. It is estimated that some 60,000 TVs are affected. Unsurprisingly, the problem appears to lie with the power circuit board.

As reported by the South Korean news agency Yonhap, LG is making repairs free of charge to eliminate “a possible heating risk” and in particular, a “risk of current overflow after performance degradation of a current-controlling component.” Eighteen domestic models contain the suspect component, all manufactured between February 2016 and September 2019. Here is the list: OLED65E6, OLED65G6, OLED77G6, OLED65B7, OLED65C7, OLED65E7, OLED65G7, OLED65W7, OLED77G7, OLED77W7, OLED65G8, OLED65W8, OLED77C8, OLED77W8, OLED65W9, OLED77B9, OLED77C9, and OLED77W9. As of July, about one-third of the affected TVs have been repaired. Of course, the burning question is whether or not any of these TVs have actually gone into flame-broiled mode. No word on that from LG.

One more thing. Please change the batteries in your smoke detectors every six months. In fact, even if you just changed them, change them again. 2020 still has four more months to go.

John_Werner's picture

In the flaming device market Samsung has some competition!!!!

brenro's picture

Not to mention the exploding iPhone 6's.

mars2k's picture

My Note 7 never exploded but I was Phone Shamed several times getting on a plane before I finally gave up and turned the Note in for a refund

Neo_42's picture

Verified...and not just units distributed to South Korea, in my personal experience! I suspect that we experienced this EXACT failure more than a year ago, but despite repeated, frustrating attempts to convince LG to support, I was told that the "LG OLED Expert Team" evaluated and approved repair/replacement for OLED screens displaying symptoms of "burn-in" (i.e. logos, graphics, etc from extended use). Apparently, ACTUAL BURN-IN does NOT qualify as a problem, and I was refused support. The overheating was sudden and severe, and I captured the temperature difference with a thermometer to make the point--well after the damage had already occured, so not at peak temp. Link to photo below as an indication. Interestingly, the high heat was only damaging to the red OLED pixels--blue and green remained fully functional.

Prior to this the TV was perfectly cared for and treated us to spectacular image quality. I couldn't say enough great things about LG OLED. Then, after this failed support experience, I've not only sworn off LG, but advise those that ask my advice to steer clear--this is completely unacceptable. --Neo


LDBetaGuy's picture

I'm assuming this problem was only with LG and not with OLED sets from SONY or other manufacturers?

Wait a minute; I'm breaking my own rule of "Assume nothing"!