Samsung Electronics president and TV chief, Kim Hyun-seok, has gone on record to say that the company has no plans to launch OLED TVs in the near future, stating that “I wouldn’t say OLED is our future direction” to Korea Herald. He is bullish on quantum dot technology.
Is Samsung in or out?
Samsung launched its first OLED TV in 2012 but failed to mass-produce it. Since then the company has been working on returning to OLED TVs and has considered transitioning to a new type of OLED pixels that LG holds key patents for.
Samsung’s TV chief now says that the company may not return to making OLED TVs at all.
- “I have always said it would take two to three years to consider OLED TV. But now when little progress has been made on its tricky production and high costs since our suspension back in 2013, I wouldn’t say OLED is our future direction,” said Kim Hyun-seok, Samsung Electronics president and TV chief, to Korea Herald.
His statements contradict recent rumors that Samsung is planning to invest upwards of $4 billion dollars on a new OLED TV factory to make production possible in 2018. It is of course entirely possible that Samsung has changed its position.
- “It is also likely that new technology like quantum dot could progress faster than OLED,” Kim added.
It is unclear what Kim refers to specifically since quantum dot is not a display technology and can be used in a variety of applications, including LCDs. Samsung is currently using quantum dot technology in its “SUHD” LCD TVs.
Samsung already runs a large-scale production of OLED panels for mobile devices, including its Galaxy line-up. It has been reported that Samsung will start supplying OLED panels for a future version of Apple’s iPhone. OLED is a self-illuminating display technology that is superior to LCD because of its almost infinite blacks, pure colors, wide viewing angles, and extremely fast pixel response.
A dangerous position
Despite having no OLED TVs on display, Samsung expects to remain the top seller of TVs this year.
- “Starting this year, the quantum dot TVs are being launched globally. We will become the No. 1 TV maker for the 11th consecutive year,” he stated.
Samsung grew to become the number one TV manufacturer during the transition from cathode-ray technology to flat panel technology such as LCD and plasma because it controlled a valuable resource: production. Back then, Samsung set up production of cutting-edge LCD panels that allowed it to move faster than competitors with no LCD panel production. The company now risks falling behind in TVs during the transition to the next-generation display technology.
If Samsung truly decides to ditch OLED TVs it will leave LG.Display as the sole supplier of OLED TV panels for the moment. LG.Display sells OLED panels to LG, Panasonic and Chinese brands, and will soon start supplying panels to Bang & Olufsen, Philips and others.