LG plans to partner with Chinese and Japanese firms on OLED TVs

25 Feb

South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc said on Tuesday it plans to partner with Chinese and Japanese firms in an effort to take organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display televisions mainstream.

LG, the world’s No. 2 television maker after rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, did not name the companies it would partner with or explain what the partnership would involve.

LG’s affiliate LG Display Co Ltd is the only panel maker able to mass produce OLED TV panels, and both companies are the primary proponents of the technology for the TV market. They say OLED picture quality is better and the technology uses less power than liquid crystal displays (LCD).

But OLED technology may have a hard time breaking into the mainstream, analysts say. Firstly, OLED TVs are pricier than LCD televisions. Secondly, quantum dot technology has recently been adopted industry-wide. It has many of OLED’s advantages but is cheaper.

Japan’s Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. have attempted to develop big-screen OLED TVs in the past but were hampered by manufacturing woes, according to the Wall Street Journal. Panasonic unveiled an OLED TV prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, but did not say when the product would be brought to market.

Earlier this year, Samsung said it did not plan to produce new OLED TVs in the near future. The South Korean electronics giant was previously a major proponent of OLED TVs, but shifted gears to focus on improving mainstream LCD technology.

“We feel that we need a little more time for OLED to become mainstream,” Kim Hyun-suk, head of Samsung’s television business, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview.

OLED television shipments will reach about one million units this year, up from nearly zero in 2014, according to the research firm DisplaySearch. But the figure pales in comparison to a projected 239 million LCD units.

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