LG Display, the manufacturer of all OLED TV panels on the market, expects to boost production by 50-60% next year. It also expects wallpaper and crystal sound OLED TVs to take off, according to comments made at the quarterly earnings call and reported by Seeking Alpha.
13 OLED TV players
Whether you buy a Sony, Panasonic, Philips or LG OLED TV, there is an LG Display-produced panel inside. The company says that 13 TV manufacturers are now onboard. The latest addition is luxury TV maker Bang & Olufsen.
LG Display expects to boost OLED TV panel production by 50-60% next year compared to 2017.
- “In terms of the large-size OLED TV panel capacity in 2017, we’re expected to sell around 1.7 million this year in terms of capacity,“ said Don-Sang Kim, Senior Vice President of LG Display. “And we see by next year in terms of the volume, we’re looking at about 2.5 million to 2.8 million.”
Of course, OLED TVs are gaining momentum but the significant boost could indicate lower prices, which would make the new display technology more attractive to the mass market. OLED has, according to market data, already conquered the premium TV segment where Samsung is struggling to sell its souped-up “QLED” LCD TVs.
LG Display said that 55” OLED panels account for 65%, while 65” panels represent 35% of shipments. The largest 77” panel accounts for a negligible share. The company’s OLED TV panel business is now profitable every month (on an EBITDA basis) and it has reached “golden yield”, which means that more than 80% of all panels produced can be sold to consumers.
- ”If you look at panel sizes of 55-inch, it account for 65%. And for 65 inches and above, the size mix share is 35%. In terms of the yield in all the size categories, we are showing a significantly high yield. We’ve also past the so-called golden yield,” said Don-Sang Kim
Wallpaper & crystal sound to take off
LG Display started mass-producing the first “wallpaper” OLED panels this year. LG has been selling them exclusively in the US and Europe as the W7 series. The TV is only a few millimeters thick and sticks to the wall with magnets.
Sony on the other hand has been selling the first “crystal sound” OLED TV, which the company has dubbed Acoustic Surface in the A1 model. The audio technology relies on actuators on the back that use the actual display panel as a speaker membrane to produce sound.
LG Display expects these two technologies to represent a much larger share of sales next year.
- “We believe that by next year out of the OLED panels, Wallpapers and CSOs (Crystal Sound OLEDs) will probably account for around 30%,” the SVP added.
The positive outlook indicates that far more OLED TVs next year will be based on the super-thin form factor and the novel audio technology. FlatpanelsHD documented all of the wallpaper OLED concepts on display at the IFA show in Berlin last month.
Preparing for 8K & HFR
The Q3 earning’s call is particularly interesting because it gives us some insight into what the leading display panel manufacturer is working on as well as some of the new features that we can expect to see at CES in January.
The last comment of interest, however, revolves around LG Display’s long-term plans for OLED. The company is planning to switch to an oxide-based backplane technology, which compared to amorphous silicon (a-Si) has far higher electron mobility, allowing LG to transition to higher resolution such as 8K.
- “So let me sum that up by saying that in preparing for 10G OLED TV, one of the essential technologies are currently being verified, which is the oxide technology. Our plan is that we want to actually adopt the oxide technology, because the speed at which the plane – the speed at which the panel is going to be driven is going to be much faster compared to LCD 8K, and it’s a more advanced technology,” concluded Don-Sang Kim.
“10G” refers to LG’s upcoming OLED factory that can produce larger-size panels. This technology will also allow LG Display to drive the panels at a faster rate, which will enable HFR or High Frame Rate. LG demonstrated HFR-capable OLED prototypes at the IFA show in September 2016 but has not commented on launch plans.