Samsung Display is finally making its long-awaited decision to stop producing LCD displays, moving at least some of its LCD factories to produce new QD-OLED displays, according to a new report by a South Korean business newspaper (via Digitimes),
However, the crucial information is that this change will not really affect Samsung Electronics’ TV business, despite the fact that almost all TVs produced are LCD – with the exception of the QD-OLED Samsung S95B.
This is because Samsung Display (which only makes displays) and Samsung Electronics (which makes finished products with displays you can buy) are effectively run as separate businesses even though they are part of the same company.
Samsung Display will sell its screens to whoever wants it, while Samsung Electronics will buy its screens from whoever sells what it needs at the right price. This means that Samsung Electronics has been buying LCD TV panels from other manufacturers for years and will continue to do so – Samsung Display’s decision does not mean the company can no longer manufacture LCD TVs.
Digitimes notes that this has been in the plan for some time: originally Samsung Display was supposed to stop making LCD TV panels in 2020, but the pandemic has caused a huge spike in demand for TVs, so it delayed the move. But with LCD prices continuing to drop, it seems Samsung Display has decided to switch to a more premium fare.
Digitimes says that Samsung Display is planning to convert at least some of its LCD production factories to make QD-OLED displays, which is great news for people hoping that next-gen technology will become cheaper.
Analysis: QD-OLED needs all the help it can get to become cheaper
QD-OLED TVs are currently very expensive: there are only two – the aforementioned Samsung S95B and the Sony A95K – and they are the highest priced of both companies’ 4K TVs. If QD-OLED is going to sell in large numbers, it will need to approach mid-range prices – or at least closer to the price of regular OLED TVs.
If Samsung Display is pushing harder from its factories to make QD-OLED TVs, that’s great news for bargain hunters as prices for these sets could finally start to drop. Simple economies of scale mean that the more you produce of something, the lower you can price it, because you can produce them cheaper per unit.
Samsung Display is also said to be working to improve the efficiency of manufacturing QD-OLED panels (again, lowering their cost), and we report new pixel technology that can also help reduce costs.
Why is it so important that the cost of QD-OLED drops quickly? Well, it’s because regular OLED TV screens keep dropping in price, and we could be about to see an OLED price war as a new company enters the market.
The initial buzz about QD-OLED TVs is that they’re better than regular OLED, but maybe not so much better that most people aren’t happy to pay 30% to 40% less for a regular OLED equivalent. And if regular OLED is about to get even more affordable, QD-OLED needs to keep pace, and then we’ll see it in more models.
For now though, rest assured that the best Samsung TVs will still feature the QLED LCD screens they are so famous for.