Samsung Display Initiates R&D for OLED TVs
March 26, 2018
THE INVESTOR reported that Samsung Display is likely to roll out large-size OLED panels for TVs at a production line where it had initially planned to produce displays for Apple’s iPhone X, a local analyst forecast on March 22. “Instead of installing flexible OLED facilities for iPhone X at the A5 plant in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, the display maker will likely set up a line for large-size OLED panels (for TVs) there,” Jeong Seok-won, an analyst from HI Investment & Securities, told The Investor. Samsung Display announced last July that it would convert its L-7, Gen 7 LCD fab into a Gen 6 fab for flexible OLEDs for iPhone X. The construction plans, however, have been in a stalemate since Apple has nearly halved the production volume amid lukewarm sales. The analyst said the shortage of production sites is the main reason behind the anticipated switch to large-size OLEDs. “The A5 plant is the only space that Samsung can utilize for OLED TV display production,” said Jeong.
Samsung Display has recently been throwing more weight behind its OLED TV panel business amid slowing LCD sales. A 300-member OLED TV team was formed to conduct R&D projects from this month, signaling that Samsung may reenter the OLED TV segment, having first launched OLED TVs in 2012 and then gradually exited. Samsung has long denied that it is developing OLED TVs, saying it is focusing on the TV business utilizing QLED and LED displays.
Market analysts forecast the electronics giant has no choice but to produce OLED TVs in order to catch up with LG Electronics, which has long taken the lead in the segment. “After rolling out QLED panels utilizing a glass light guide plate later this year, Samsung Display is considering an OLED TV panel fitted with a quantum dot color filter as the next step,” said Alex Kang, a principal analyst from IHS Markit, at a display conference held in Seoul on March 21. Glass LGP is a crucial part of the backlight unit and allows TVs to be slimmer than a plastic LGP.
Several questions that remain are:
Samsung Display’s new CEO visited Kateeva last year and was so impressed with Kateeva’s demo that printed R,G,B side by side that he ordered an R&D tool. Now it is up to the R&D team to make it work.