Samsung Display has shut down operations at one of its LCD TV production lines as part of 'Project C', which involves a gradual shift to OLED TV mass production, according to a report by The Elec. It is expected to shut down its entire LCD TV production in South Korea.
Project C: OLED TV production
After months of rumors, Samsung may have given its so-called 'Project C' the green light. In October 2018, the CEO of Samsung Display acknowledged that it was developed 'QD-OLED' technology. Project C is an investment plan to achieve mass production of OLED TVs.
Samsung Display has now halted production at one of its two 8G LCD TV production lines in South Korea. The line has been in operation since 2007 when Sony and Samsung created S-LCD to jointly produce LCD TV panels. There are two lines (8-1 and 8-2) each divided into phase 1 and 2. Line 8-1 phase 1 is the one that has been shut down. Samsung is expected to also shut down the rest of the 8G lines.
- "In its next step, Samsung Display is set to shut down the rest of the Gen-8 lines, along with the 7-2 lines left after switching most of them to produce small and mid-sized OLED panels," a source told Korean newspaper The Elec.
Samsung is believed to be shutting down the lines in order to start installation of production equipment for large-size OLED TV panels. Sources told The Elec that purchase orders are expected for October 2019, slightly later than first anticipated.
Korean LCD TV production to end
If the display panel maker shuts down its remaining lines in South Korean, it will no longer be producing LCD TV panels in its home country. Instead it can source panels for its "QLED" LCD TVs and conventional LCD TVs from its own production lines in China as well as CSOT's (TCL) new 11G LCD plant that began mass production earlier this year. 10% of panels from the new plant are reserved for Samsung.
On the day that Samsung halted its 8-1 line, regulatory filings revealed that equipment maker ICD had signed a contract with Canon Tokki. Industry watchers believe that it is related to Samsung's plans.
Samsung has been rumored to switch from LCD to OLED TVs for years now. The company tried to enter the OLED TV segment in 2012 and 2013 but ultimately had to abandon the plan due to production challenges with RGB OLED, leaving LG Display as the sole player with its WOLED technology. Afterwards, Samsung was forced to breathe new life into its LCD TVs. It created "QLED" LCD TVs with a quantum dot film.
Reports claim that Samsung has seen sales of "QLED" LCD TVs increase over the last year or so but it is mostly a smokescreen. The company has been expanding the moniker to cover smaller and more affordable 43 and 49-inch TVs in its Q6 mid-range series, essentially recategorizing sales. Samsung still has a good grip on the 70-inch and larger segment, according to sales data from IHS Markit. However, the popularity of OLED TVs are pushing premium LCD TVs upwards in size - not unlike what happened with plasma TVs.
- Source: The Elec