Samsung denies it is developing QD-OLED TVs, will focus on Micro-LEDs and QLEDs

Last week we reported that ETNews claims that Samsung is developing a hybrid Quantum-Dots OLED technology for its future TVs.

Today Yonhap News reports that Samsung Visual Display Business VP, Han Jong-hee, denies this story, saying that Samsung sticks to its two-track strategy for the high-end TV market, developing both QLED (quantum-dots enhanced LED LCDs) and Micro-LED TVs. Han further says that Samsung will start selling its Wall Micro-LED TV in August 2018.

ETNews: Samsung is developing hybrid QD-OLED TVs

ETNews posted an interesting article, claiming that Samsung Display is developing a new TV technology that combines OLED emitters with quantum-dot photo-luminescence materials. The basic idea is to use blue OLED emitters and then convert the blue light to white light using quantum-dots combined with color filters (QDCFs) to add red and green colors.

Samsung OLED TVs (2013)

This seems to be a rather complicated design, but it could be much easier to produce compared to a true RGB OLED TV, as there is no need for precise OLED patterning. This is similar to LG's WRGB OLED TVs which use a white OLED source (made from yellow and blue emitters) and color filters on top.

Merck leads a new consortium to develop quantum materials for light emission

Germany launched a new project led by Merck to develop quantum materials as light emissive sources. The three-year project is called "Exploration of quantum materials – New paths to realizing innovative optoelectronic components" (ELQ-LED) and it is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and led by Merck with an aim to conduct basic research on quantum materials as light emitting sources. ELQ-LED is a three-year project that will end on the summer of 2020.

Merck hopes that ELQ-LED materials will enable ultra-pure colors, higher energy efficiency and lower production costs compared to current OLED emitters. The focus of this project will be on cadmium-free quantum materials but the partners will also develop supporting components, processes, transport materials and ink. All components developed in this project will be printable, and the project will test its developments in display prototypes and automotive tail light demonstrators.

OLED Ink-jet printing market situation, early 2018

Many OLED producers believe that Ink-Jet printing of OLED emissive materials is the best way to achieve lower-cost OLED TV production, and to enable OLEDs to compete in the medium part of the TV market. Ink-Jet printing is an efficient process (less material waste compared to evaporation) and it can be very quick as well. The main drawbacks of inkjet are the limited resolution and the need for soluble emissive materials which are less efficient compared to evaporation ones.

A Kateeva OLED ink-jet printing system

These challenges are being overcome, and it seems that at least four groups (in Korea, Japan and China) are charging forward towards mass production of ink-jet printed OLEDs. Ink-jet printer makers and soluble material suppliers are also optimistic ink-jet printing commercialization will soon be here as the material performance gap is diminishing.

Samsung's Harman demonstrates new car display concepts using SDC's OLED and QLED displays

Automotive component maker Harman (owned by Samsung) is demonstrating new automotive display prototypes and designs that make use of Samsung's latest displays - both OLEDs and QLEDs.

Harman OLED/QLED automotive concept (CES-2018, 1)

The new automotive designs includes Samsung's latest flexible and transparent OLED displays, and Harman hopes that these new designs will bring more choice and flexibility to auto makers. Harman displayed two different car concepts which you can see above and below. In these concepts the OLEDs are used for the instrument cluster and other parts of the car, while the QLED panels are used for the infotainment system.

UBI: The price gap between premium OLED and LCD TVs is almost gone

UBI Research is tracking the price of premium TV sold on in the US. As competition intensifies, the price gap between OLED and LCD TVs keeps getting lower - to the point where is not much difference between a high end Samsung QLED TV and LG's OLEDC7 OLED TVs.

LCD vs OLED TV price gap, (UBI Research, 2016-2017)

In December 2016, the price gap between a 65" LG OLED TV to a 65" Samsung SUHD TV was about $1,000. The price gap as of today is only about $300. The price gap for a 55" TV is even lower (around $200).

CPT aims to start mass producing QD-LED displays within 2 years

Taiwan-based Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) says that it is developing Quantum-Dots displays (QD-LEDs) produced using a printing process. CPT says that QD-LEDs offer pure-colors, long lifetime and are more efficient and stable compared to OLED displays.

Q-LED presentation slide (CPT, September 2017)

CPT hopes that a printing process will enable low cost QD-LED displays. CPT's Material Technology Division manager estimates that the major obstacles have already been overcome - although the performance of quantum dots is still lacking and CPT is continuing to research and develop QD materials. CPT estimates that it could start mass producing QD-LED displays within two years.

IHS and DSCC seem to disagree on the future of QLED-LCD TVs

According to IHS, sales of quantum-dot enhanced LCD TVs, or QLED TVs, dropped 48% in Q2 2017 compared to Q1 2017. Total sales in Q2 amounted to only 351,000 units - down from 671,000 in Q1 2017. OLED TV sales, meanwhile, increased from 29% from 212,000 units to 282,000 units.

Following this report, Business Korea speculates that Samsung Electronics may have to change its premium TV strategy, as it faces market share lose in this very important segment and may lose its leading position in the total TV market.

Guangzhou New Vision demonstrates its latest flexible and foldable OLEDs

China's Guangzhou New Vision demonstrated its latest flexible and foldable AMOLED displays at SID DisplayWeek. According to the company in the video below, these displays will enter production in 1.5 years.

As can be seen in the video, the company is developing flexible OLEDs with a resolution of 400 PPI on oxide-TFT backplanes and Polyimide substrates. New Vision also develops printing technologies (for both OLED and QLED displays, interestingly) - but these are still in an early stage, it seems.

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