LG Display Co., a global panel maker, plans to spend an additional 1 trillion won (US$915 million) this year on its large-sized organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panel production line in South Korea to meet growing demand, industry sources said Wednesday. LG Display has already spent 800 billion won on the OLED panel production line, which produces panels for TVs, the sources said. LG Display is told to have commenced production at the production line starting November 2014, but the detailed capacity has not yet been revealed.
The company aims to expand its monthly production of the eighth-generation OLED input sheets to 26,000 units at the line in Paju, just west of Seoul. When combined with its existing line, LG Display’s combined monthly production of OLED input sheets will reach 34,000 units, the sources said.
LG earlier said it will target the high-end TV market on the back of 77, 65 and 55-inch Ultra OLED models. The OLED technology, more advanced than LCD since it produces light without the backlight unit (BLU), is seen as the company’s future growth engine.
Korea’s exports of information and communications technology (ICT) products and services reached a record high of $170 billion last year, the government reported Thursday. According to data released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, ICT products accounted for almost 30 percent of the nation’s $573 billion in exports, contributing to a 2014 trade surplus of $86.3 billion.
Semiconductors were the top ICT export category, thanks to DRAM and 3-D NAND flash memory chips. In 2014, memory chips became the nation’s first export product to surpass $60 billion, increasing 9.6 percent year-on-year to reach $62.7 billion. Semiconductor exports surged 33.2 percent last year to a record $34 billion, while shipments of system semiconductors slumped 9.8 percent to $22.5 billion. Exports of display panels slipped 3.2 percent, as demand dropped in China, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Chinese producers of cheaper panels also dragged down prices for LCD televisions.
LG Electronics (LG) today took the cover off the world’s first Flexible OLED TV at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. With this groundbreaking TV unit, viewers can control the angle of curvature for the ultimate viewing experience that was only available in the realm of science fiction.
“LG’s Flexible OLED TV is a product that has to be seen to be believed because it defies description,” said H. H. (Hyun-hwoi) Ha President and CEO of LG’s Home Entertainment Company. “What curved is to flat, flexible is to curved. LG continues to lead the evolution of televisions into the next generation.”
What separates LG’s Flexible OLED TV from every other TV set in the world is that the curvature of the display can be altered using the TV remote to suit the viewer’s preference. The range of curvature was determined by taking into account key factors that affect the viewing experience such as screen size and viewing distance. Since the viewer can adjust the curvature, they can enjoy the best TV viewing experience, tailored to their tastes, every time.
Samsung and LG will unveil prototypes of remote-controlled flexible OLED TVs ㅡ considered the next big thing in the industry ㅡ at the International Consumer Electronics (ICES) next month. The ICES is scheduled for Jan. 7 to 10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Because the annual exhibition has long been considered as the place to see new trends and devices in the industry, attention is focused on which new technologies will stun the world. The Korean electronics giants, which gained attention last year with 55-inch curved OLED TVs, are preparing to wow participants and dealers again this year by unveiling the flexible OLED TVs.
“Samsung will unveil a prototype of the flexible OLED TV at next month’s ICES,” said an industry official, who is familiar with the issue, Sunday. He declined to unveil specific details about the new TV ㅡ only saying that the display size will be “huge.” The basic concept of the remote-controlled flexible TV is that users can use a control to bend the screen, enabling viewers to get a better viewing angle. Existing OLED TVs are just curved, not flexible and the viewing angle is fixed. Samsung said the latest technology will use plastic-based OLED displays and a back panel that can deform the display.
Samsung Electronics on Thursday introduced a curved 55-inch premium TV using an advanced organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology that also supports high-definition (HD) picture quality. The world’s biggest TV manufacturer said that it will start the sale of the TVs outside Korea from July.
A senior company executive said that the curved OLED TVs will be available in most developed markets including the United States. It also plans to sell the devices in emerging markets, as well.
“Samsung believes that curved OLED TVs are better than traditional ‘flat’ OLED TVs in terms of customer value because the curved ones provide improved picture quality,” said Kim Hyun-seok, head of the company’s visual display division, during a news conference at the firm’s main office in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul, Thursday.
The executive claimed the latest curved OLED TV is “flawless” or has zero pixel defects. It is priced at 15 million won or some $13,000. The firm claims its “Timeless Arena” design eliminates potential for defective OLED pixels.
LG Display is expected to solidify its leadership in the display market as it will mass-produce a new flexible smartphone panel for major clients from the fourth quarter of this year. Technicians and researchers at LG say this new development is an effort to meet growing demand for innovative business solutions.
LG spokesman Frank Lee said that his company is looking to meet “the rapid need for display advancements.” Lee stressed upcoming flexible displays, which are bendable and unbreakable, could be the next innovation in display-making technology. According to the company, LG is investing in flexible displays for mobile devices and new high-tech panels, called organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels, which support ultra high-definition (UHD).
“We have completed the development of our first flexible displays. We will mass produce flexible displays from the fourth quarter of this year,” the company said in a statement to The Korea Times. Company officials said its E2 line at its display complex in Paju is going to handle the production of flexible displays.
LG Display will expand its advanced display business by entering the small-sized organic light-emitting diode (OLED) market currently dominated by Samsung Display, according to LG officials Thursday.
The expansion came as the display-making affiliate of LG Group has experienced falling profit margins in the liquid crystal display (LCD) market. The firm also aims to capitalize on brisk sales of LG Optimus smartphones manufactured by LG Electronics. According to LG officials and market analysts, LG Display plans to make new investments in developing the small-sized OLED display business to produce flexible OLED displays from the latter half of this year.
LG Electronics said on Monday that it will begin accepting pre-orders for its 55-inch curved OLED TVs in Korea to once again show that it intends to stay ahead of Samsung Electronics in terms of OLED technology. The announcement marks the first time that a Korean company, including Samsung, has commercialized both flat screen and curved OLED TVs. The flat screen OLED TVs have started to ship to local customers in February.
Over 1,400 LG retail stores here have started to take orders on this day, the Seoul-based company said, adding that deliveries will begin next month for this flagship size model. The premium TVs are priced at around 15 million won. OLED is cited as a next generation panel technology that’s designed to be more energy-efficient and offer better picture quality.
“Our Curved OLED TV is not only the proof of LG’s unmatched leadership in next-generation displays but also a testament to LG’s commitment to bringing to market the most exciting TV technology available today,” said Kwon Hee-won, President and CEO of LG’s Home Entertainment Company.
Samsung Electronics will further diversify its ultra high-definition (UHD) TV lineup in response to upbeat forecasts for the segment. Its executive in charge of the European market said on Saturday the world’s No. 1 TV producer will introduce several models on top of the currently available 85-inch and 110-inch sets at the IFA consumer electronics fair in September.
“Samsung is going to increase significantly its UHD line,” said Michael Zoeller, the company’s European director for TV/AV, at the IFA Global Press Conference. While declining to reveal details of the new models, he said they will have screens both larger and smaller than 85 inches.
UHD boasts four times the resolution of ordinary HD. The UHD screen is a TV equivalent of the iPhone’s Retina screen, meaning its pixels are so small as to be nearly invisible. Samsung launched sales of its first UHD television – the 85-inch S9 – on Jan. 14 in Korea at 40 million won ($35,730). In Europe, the S9 will be released in London in four weeks with a price tag of more than 40,000 euros ($52,248), according to Zoeller.
The Korean tech titan showcased its 110-inch UHD TV – the world’s largest – at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, but has yet to announce its release schedule or target countries. LG Electronics, Samsung’s major rival, has unveiled 55-, 65- and 84-inch UHD TVs.
LG Display Co., the world’s second-largest display maker, on Monday announced plans to invest 706 billion won ($652 million) in OLED TV facilities in efforts to strengthen its leadership in OLED technology. The investment in the 8th generation OLED TV manufacturing line, set to be installed in the company’s Paju plant in suburban Seoul, is scheduled to begin in the first quarter, LG Display said in a press release. Mass production is set to begin in the first half of 2014 at a monthly capacity of 26,000 input sheets, according to the display maker.
The investment plan comes as global manufacturers are ramping up efforts to gain a bigger stake in the market for premium TVs, such as OLED TVs and ultra HD TVs. The display maker’s affiliate LG Electronics Inc. began pre-orders for its 55-inch OLED TVs last month, racing ahead of rival Samsung Electronics Co. in rolling out the large-display OLED TVs.