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TVS & LARGE DISPLAY / OLED TV

LG Claims A Technology Edge Over Samsung TVs

By David Richards & Wire Service | Sunday | 08/07/2012

LG Electronics, who is looking to grow their share of the Australian TV market and are now locked in a bitter battle with Samsung, believes they have a TV "technology edge" over their Korean rival going forward.

In Australia the Company is set to launch a top end OLED TV in October up against a new 75" Samsung TV, both TVs will cost arounf $10,000.

LG believes its organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology which is brighter than LED and don't require separate backlights resulting in them being thinner and consume about 20 percent less power will give LG the edge as the industry moves to OLED going forward.

"We have been relatively slower in introducing new devices (than Samsung). But when it comes to OLED TV... we can run far faster than the rival," said Ro Seog-Ho, executive vice president of LG's TV business.

"I think there's a very high chance that we can win this game," he said recently.


Click to enlarge

LG Australia plans to launch a 55" OLED model in October. The TV was crowned best gadget of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, trumping a similar-size Samsung set.

Market researcher iSuppli estimates just 34,000 global sales of OLED sets this year, possibly growing to 2.1 million sets in 2015.

Ro said LG's version of the technology -- called white OLED -- would allow cheaper and faster mass-production of panels with more vivid images than Samsung, which uses a technology called red, green and blue.
"It means we can increase panel yield rate faster than them and eventually cut prices faster," he said.

Struggling Japanese TV giants Sony and Panasonic teamed up in June to jointly develop OLED panels. But Ro said it would take them one or two years to roll out a new panel.

"You can't introduce a new technology too early for consumers to accept. But at the same time, you can't introduce it too late when there's no room left for you to squeeze in," he said.

LG Electronics expects to sell 30 million TV sets of all types worldwide this year, up nearly 20 percent from 2011. 3D sets are expected to make up more than 10 percent of the total.

LG scored a rare turnaround in the first quarter of this year, after mostly bleeding for two years due to its loss-making mobile phone unit.

Its home entertainment division, driven by sales of 3D TVs, reported an operating profit of $191.4 million recently.

The unit would post a similar profit range for the second quarter on growing demand in emerging markets, Ro said.

Ro said LG is on track to claim a quarter of the world's 3D TV market this year to beat current leader Samsung, as companies try to boost sagging margins in the industry with a range of premium-priced products.

Global TV shipments shrank in 2011 after growing for six straight years and are expected to remain flat this year. But 3D TV shipments in 2012 are forecast to jump 90 percent, said industry tracker Display Search.

Ro said 3D TVs that do not require viewers to wear special glasses will be an industry standard in about four to five years.

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