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Samsung: OLED too expensive, focus on LCD, plasma

updated 04:00 pm EST, Wed December 3, 2008

Samsung OLED displays

South Korea's Samsung will not bring OLED TVs to market anytime soon, says the company's Vice President in the Flat Panel Development division, HS Kim. The technology is currently considered too expensive, and customers would not pay the premium, as OLED sets would cost 10 times as much as equivalent LCD or plasma HDTVs, Kim says. As such, Samsung will hold off on releasing OLED TVs until the cost of the technology comes down to a level customers are willing to pay.

Instead, the electronics giant will continue to focus on developing its current LCD and plasma TVs, improving their performance while making them thinner and more efficient. This will involve working on integrating 200Hz panels and LED backlighting into its sets, with more advanced local dimming LED backlighting and LED edge-lighting to be used in higher-end sets in order to make them super-thin. OLED panels can be just 3mm thick, though the TV itself would need to be 25mm thick (just over an inch), which is what LCD HDTVs are approaching.

Power consumption levels of LCDs are likewise approaching those of OLEDs, with Samsung's 2009 55-inch models using up the same amount of power as current 32-inch models. Kim says next year's 40-inch LCD will use close to the approximately 50W of power an OLED TV of unspecified size would consume.

"OLED has a long way to go, technology-wise and cost-wise. It's coming, but we just don't know when it will be a viable consumer product," Kim says. Backing up that statement are Samsung's multiple OLED TV prototypes.

The announcement is in contrast to a recent speech made by another Samsung executive, though he was speaking about much smaller OLED displays being ready for use in portable electronics devices, including netbooks and cellphones, by as soon as 2010.

by MacNN Staff



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