Samsung is still struggling to mass-produce OLED TVs and is currently considering a new long-term roadmap that involves skipping OLED TVs entirely and going straight to QLED TVs, which a new display type based on quantum dot technology, according to a report by Korean newspaper ETNews.
Samsung might skip OLED TVs
Samsung introduced its first OLED TV in 2012 but had to put the project on hold because it was unable to bring down production costs. Samsung was using a different OLED pixel structure than LG has used to mass-produce OLED TVs.
QLED TVs should not be confused with what is available on the market today. Last year, Samsung introduced a line of “SUHD”-branded LCD TVs that are using quantum dot technology in the backlight unit. However, what Samsung is now considering is to develop a new display technology built entirely on quantum dots. The concept is not new and has been dubbed QLED, short for “quantum dot light emitting diodes”.
- “Although we had been developing and paying careful attention on OLED technologies, there are problems regarding age and production cost with large products since they use organic material,” an anonymous high-ranking Samsung official was cited as saying in ETNews’ report.
QLED TVs could arrive in 2019
Samsung believes that QLED is superior to OLED because it is based on inorganic material and because it potentially has lower production costs, according to the source. QLED would also be ideal for HDR.
QLED is - like OLED - a self-emitting display technology that requires no backlight unit like LCD does. Instead of using organic material - like OLED - the new QLED displays would use a layer of quantum dots, but in many ways utilize the same basic principles. The size of the quantum dots vary from 2 to 10 nanometers (a ten-thousandth of the thickness of a single strand of hair). The tiny quantum dots can reproduce different colors depending on the size of each dot. In the past, companies used cadmium, which is believed to be toxic to humans, to produce quantum dots, but Samsung has found an alternative to cadmium.
- “When Quantum Dot replaces color filters, it will become a display that will be superior to all other displays,” said Kim Hyeon-seok of Samsung Electronics’ VD Business Department at CES 2016. “Quantum Dot will become a display that will have strengths of LCD and OLED.”
Samsung has never exhibited a QLED TV prototype.
ETNews claims to know that Samsung is still finalizing the long-term plans but that the company intends to skip OLED TVs and go straight to QLED TVs. Samsung is reportedly hoping to commercialize the first QLED TVs in 2019. In the mean time, the company is planning to focus on its souped-up “SUHD” LCD TVs.
Samsung has not confirmed the information but the head of Samsung Electronics recently said that “I wouldn’t say OLED is our future direction”.