OLED TV Contrast: No Samsung in 2015; LG Ups Production

Mike Wheatley

LG is absolutely killing it when it comes to OLED TVs, and the status quo is unlikely to change any time soon if recent reports are to be believed.


In a carefully-worded statement, Kim Hyun-seok, head of Samsung Electronics’ television business has more or less admitted that his company still doesn’t have a clue how to make large-sized OLED displays it can sell at a reasonable price.

“Our strategy on OLED TV this year as well as next year remains unchanged,” said Kim. Those comments have been widely interpreted as meaning Samsung has no plans to release any new OLED televisions in 2015, just as it failed to do so this year.

Across town meanwhile, LG has said it’s planning to “ramp up” OLED display panel production at its own facilities from December. The company currently produces around 8,000 OLED panels at its factory in Paju, South Korea, and is now planning to increase this to a whopping 26,000 OLEDs a month with the introduction of a second production line at the facility.

LG says its M2 line is designed to cut 2,200×2,500m substrates into panels. These are larger than the panels it cuts at its M1 line, and will produce less waste material in the process. According to the South Korean manufacturer, this should allow it to build OLED panels more cheaply, and should lead to a reduction in the cost of its OLED TVs.

LG’s good progress only serves to underline how badly Samsung is struggling to build its own big-screen OLED displays. The company was at one time almost neck-and-neck with LG in the race to commercialise OLED TVs, but it’s achieved next to nothing since releasing its first commercially available model in 2013. Most recently, the company has stated its intention to focus on 4K ultra high-definition (UHD) TVs instead.

That doesn’t mean Samsung is throwing in the towel just yet. As we reported in September, Samsung was the main participant in a $38 million funding round for an OLED startup called Kateeva, which has developed a revolutionary inkjet printing solution it claims can slash the costs of manufacturing OLED whilst boosting production yields.

Kateeva’s technology is promising, but it’ll be some time before Samsung can apply it to start mass producing OLED panels on the scale that LG is planning. In the meantime, Samsung is rumoured to be preparing quantum-dot-based LED LCDs for next January’s CES 2015 show in Las Vegas.