“QLED” TVs, or QD LCD TVs as defined by IHS Markit, outsold OLED TVs in terms of units last year, according to the analyst firm. Citing the data, Samsung claims that QLED is leading the premium TV market but LG contests the premise.
Samsung claims leadership, LG contests
In late 2017 and early 2018, sales of OLED TVs surpassed those of “QLED” LCD TVs that were trending downwards. For the full year of 2018, sales of “QLED” LCD TVs grew to 2.7 million units compared to 2.5 million for OLED TV, according to market data from IHS Markit shared with FlatpanelsHD.
IHS Markit defines the sub segment as QD LCD while Samsung, TCL, and Hisense who together form the QLED Alliance are selling them as QLED TVs. Citing the data, Samsung has claimed that QLED is leading the premium TV market, according to reports in Korean media.
In late 2017 in the US and mid-2018 in Europe, Samsung added to its QLED line-up the Q6FN model, which is targeting the mid-range segment with prices currently starting at $600-650 dollars.
In response to release of the market data, vice chairman of LG Display has contested the premise of the QLED category in a meeting with Korean media, mirroring IHS Markit’s categorization of Samsung’s TV as QD LCD. He also argued that revenue matters more, pointing out that revenue for OLED TVs totaled $6.5 billion in 2018 compared to $6.3 billion for QD LCDs. The data was confirmed by IHS Markit in an email to FlatpanelsHD.
- “There is a need to clarify technical differences between QLED and OLED due to confusion in the market,” Han Sang-beom, vice chairman of LG Display, said at the meeting according to The Korea Herald. “A real QLED TV should use self-emissive quantum dots instead of the backlight behind the LCD panel.”
- “Academically, the way which is done by Samsung is called 'QD-LCD', while a quantum dot TV using self-emissive diodes like OLED is called 'QD-OLED',” added Kang In-byung, CTO at LG Display. “QD-LCD and OLED are totally different display platforms.”
He added that he believes Samsung is aiming to mass produce QD-OLED TVs in 2021. Samsung has yet to commit to large-scale investments in QD-OLED but will reportedly review the investment plan this April.
IHS Markit informed FlatpanelsHD that it does not break down sales for other sub segments under the LCD category such as “NanoCell” or full array local dimming LCD TVs. Market share numbers for individual TV makers are not provided to media either.
A total of 221.4 million TVs were sold globally in 2018. Total revenue from TV sales was $115.5 billion.
While the two leading Korean companies are arguing about last year’s TV sales, both are gearing up to launch their respective 2019 TV line-ups over the coming weeks and months. This year, Samsung Electronics will continue to sell LCD TVs, while LG Electronics will sell both OLED and LCD TVs.