According to a report in the Korea ITNews, the bosses of the two firms have come to an agreement where the display side of the business will extend its production of LCD-based panels for the parent company and, in return, Samsung Electronics will order QD-based displays for a proposed Samsung QD-OLED TV.
QD-OLED is a hybrid design that marries the brightness and colours of quantum dot technology, found in Samsung’s existing flagship QLED TVs, with backlighting from self-emissive OLED panels. Samsung Electronics is set to receive its first batch of these QD-OLED panels, specifically for larger TV sizes, next year.
The move to an OLED technology seems a little out of left field given Samsung’s recent focus on Mini-LED and MicroLED as the TV technologies of tomorrow. Samsung’s first Mini-LED range, the Samsung Neo QLEDs, will hit the shelves in the coming weeks and the company has repeatedly shown off MicroLED panels at CES and other trade shows up until now. However, this may be a marriage of convenience more than a sea change of TV tech direction.
The report states that the COVID pandemic has seen a surge in TV sales for Samsung which has meant a shortage of LCD displays, where there used to be a large surplus. Samsung Display had planned on ceasing LCD production in the face of the previous lack of demand but was approached by the Samsung Electronics chief to extend the run. This was partly due to fears that it would have left Samsung reliant on Chinese manufacturers for their LCD panels.
The benefit for Samsung Display is that its $11.7 billion investment in QD technologies from 2019 will start to see some returns. How extensively the parent company adopts QD-OLED next year, and how it fits in with other Samsung TV ranges lined up for 2022, remains to be seen.
At the very least, it’s an excellent way of Samsung dipping its toe into OLED waters. And, if QD-OLED proves its worth, could it pull some TV manufacturers who currently use LG’s OLED panels in the direction of the hybrid TV tech? We’ll have to wait and see.