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LG To Invest Billions More In Making OLED 4K TV Tech Huge. Here’s How

by on July 26, 2017
 

Stephan Jukic – July 26, 2017

The display arm of LG Electronics division took a major risk when it originally invested a fortune in OLED displays for 4K TVs and other devices back in 2013 and 2014. A lot of media criticism from a number of sources was focused particularly on the company’s 4K UHD TVs with OLED screens partly due to their very steep prices and partly due to certain problems that these models had with low brightness and claims of “burn-in” (a process by which pixels on an OLED display hold onto lingering residual shadows of static images that the TV has shown for too long). However, by today in 2017, it’s LG which is laughing all the way to the bank with their near revolution in these televisions.

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Not only has the company’s OLED television arm been EBITDA positive (essentially profitable) since late 2016 with continued growth in sales of these televisions in numerous markets, other brands have also been prodded into releasing their own OLED televisions in a belated effort to keep up with LG’s remarkably popular consumer market move with the technology. Of course though, these competitor OLED 4K TV efforts don’t much harm LG either since the vast majority of panels being used these rival brands, such as Panasonic and Sony, are in fact being bought from LG itself.

Sony's first OLED 4K HDR TV, the A1E, uses an LG OLED display panel

Sony’s first OLED 4K HDR TV, the A1E, uses an LG OLED display panel

LG display as a whole has also been extremely profitable between this quarter of 2017 and the same time in 2016. The company’s second-quarter operating profits have leapt up nearly 19-fold from the equivalent of $39 million in Q2 of 2016 to $721 million USD in Q2 of this year.

Given these trends, LG Electronics has now publically announced that it will be investing a further $13.5 billion USD in production and development of new organic light emitting diode displays over the next three years. A large part of this money will be used to cement the company’s major lead in the large-sized OLED TV display panel market and another part will be aimed at developing OLED smartphone displays in an effort to unseat Samsung, which absolutely dominates with a 90% share of all OLED screens in this particular compact display segment.

The specific breakdown of this gigantic 3 year OLED R&D investment by LG goes as follows: The company will be spending a total of $7 billion on production of OLED smartphone and TV displays over the next year. On top of this LG will spend a further $2.5 billion on developing new lines of larger OLED screens mainly for the TV market and finally a further 4.5 billion will be spent on developing and producing new lines of flexible OLED displays. These flexible displays will be aimed at both the future of smartphone screen technology and 4K UHD TVs. We’re assuming that the TV screens in particular will be of a type that advances even further from LG’s current flagship W7 OLED 4K HDR TV which has a semi-flexible ultra-thin display with no large hardware components attached to it. Instead, the W7 mounts directly to a wall just like a poster or very thin painting.

LG's W7 semi-flexible ultra-thin OLED 4K Television

LG’s W7 semi-flexible ultra-thin OLED 4K Television

Production lines for both TVs and smartphone displays will be partly located in the Paju district northwest of Seoul in South Korea and partly handled in a giant upcoming OLED production plant in Guangzhou, China, where LG plans to focus particularly on OLED TV screens for its overseas markets. The company already maintains an LCD TV production plant in the Guangzhou region, which has been there since 2014.

Dr. Sang Beom Han, CEO and Vice Chairman of LG Display had this to say about LG’s massive OLED effort:

“We’re clearly seeing the possibilities the OLED business offers, not only in the global TV segment, but also in the smartphone and automotive markets. We plan to actively respond to customers’ demands by expanding OLED capacity in a timely manner and developing diversified flexible displays that are fit for various applications.”

In other words, regardless of what magic new developments Samsung comes up with in its quest to create true quantum dot 4K UHD televisions or what other new display technologies other major brands develop for the next generations of 4K HDR display technology, LG’s already stunning OLED 4K HDR TV screens are here to stay for the near future and we can hope that they will continue to improve.

For our part, we definitely consider the LG OLED display investment commitment to be a piece of good news as far as 4K HDR TVs are concerned. Between 2015 and 2017 in particular, we’ve consistently ranked the company’s OLED models as the best overall 4K TV models across virtually all major metrics of display performance. The OLED 2017 4K HDR models in particular lay a strong claim to this status due to their exceptional color delivery, virtually perfect motion handling, completely perfect black levels and contrast precision and their continuously improving peak brightness levels.

Story by 4k.com

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