CES Aftermath: is LG taking the lead in OLED TVs?

So CES 2014 is now over, and one thing is certain - at least in that event, LG is making a much stronger push into OLED TVs than their arch rival Samsung. While Samsung only showed new 55" bendable 4K OLED prototypes, LG showed many prototypes and two new products, including a 77" curved 4K OLED TV that they plan to launch soon for $29,999.

But it seems that it's not just about TVs on display at CES. A Samsung visual-display VP says that there are significant OLED manufacturing issues and they only expect cheap OLED TVs to enter the market in 3 or 4 years. LG on the other hand sees a "rapid shift into OLED TVs". The market will remain small in 2014 (30,000 to 50,000 units) but LG expects the market to ramp up quickly.

One of the major differences between LG and Samsung is the choice of architecture. Samsung uses an LTPS backplane and a direct-emission structure, while LG adopts WRGB and Oxide-TFTs. Samsung's technologies may be superior in display quality, but they are much more difficult to scale up. The fastest route to cheap OLED production is probably larger production lines (i.e. larger substrates) with more capacity. LG's Gen-8 OLED line is scheduled for H2 2014, but we still didn't hear a commitment for an OLED TV fab.

It seems that at least for now, LG's choice of technology was better than Samsung's. Two Korean companies are also evaluating other technologies (ink-jet printing for example, and nozzle-printing) so this is not the end of story yet. It also remains to be seen whether LG will actually succeed in their plans, and perhaps Samsung will surprise us soon with a new push into OLED TVs.

Posted: Jan 13,2014 by Ron Mertens


I agree with you .