If you expected Samsung to release a cheaper OLED TV option than the next-gen Samsung S95B QD-OLED TV this year, you should probably bury those hopes once and for all following comments from LG Display CFO Kim Sung Hyun.
LG Display is the only company that makes the W-OLED screen technology used in almost all the best OLED TVs – the only alternative to W-OLED is QD-OLED, and that is much more expensive (and is only used in two TVs) to date). If Samsung is going to make a cheaper OLED TV anytime soon, it needs to use a W-OLED screen, and that means it needs to buy from LG.
However, during LG’s latest earnings call this week, Kim Sung-hyun was quoted by Korea BizWire (opens in new tab) (through FlatpanelsHD) saying, “Our new customer (Samsung Electronics) has looked to use our OLED panels…While there has been some progress, the process is stalled at the moment.”
This is the latest story point in an ongoing saga over whether Samsung would release a whole range of cheaper OLED TVs this year, and it already didn’t look good in May because the two companies couldn’t agree on a price. for OLED panels. And then a general dip in TV buying (in part because so many people bought a new TV during the pandemic) has made Samsung even less likely to launch its OLED TVs.
But it was still on the air officially, with little news from both companies. This quote from LG saying that negotiations have stalled tells us that there’s really no chance of new Samsung OLEDs arriving in 2022. deal tomorrow.
New TV models are announced in January at CES, with sets going on sale in the spring. We’re betting that if these OLED TVs are coming, they will be announced as part of the 2023 lineup.
Analysis: What’s Happening to Pricing?
According to a source from Korea Bizwire, LG Display and Samsung have yet to reach an agreement on the price of the OLED screens, which is what is holding everything back.
I suspect that’s a very simplified way of putting it – there is currently a whirlwind of factors that affect these price negotiations – but it is undoubtedly true.
With demand for TVs falling over the past couple of years, LG Display would like to keep the profit margin on its OLED screens, and as the sole supplier, it can do that by keeping its prices tight. Samsung isn’t the only manufacturer to be disheartened by this: we spoke to the president of Hisense USA who told us that current OLED prices just don’t work for a low-end brand – especially as prices for QLED mini-LED displays are so low. falling quickly.
That brings it back to Samsung, which has put its entire stock on QLED over the past few years and excelled at mini-LED. Samsung made it clear when it launched the S95B QD-OLED TV at a cheaper price than its flagship Samsung QN95B Neo QLED that it wants its QLED technology to be seen as the most premium type of TV screen on the market.
So I suspect part of what’s causing the disagreement over pricing between LG Display and Samsung is that Samsung wants OLED screens to be cheap enough to sell them for less (or roughly equal to) its mini TV. entry-level LED. , the QN85B. But with the price of the mini-LED continually dropping, LG Display would likely have to give Samsung a big discount on OLED screens to make that possible, and it probably doesn’t want to.
So I think there’s likely to be an impasse: Samsung has its own internal marketing and political reasons for needing W-OLED displays to be cheap, and LG Display has absolutely no desire to undermine its own pricing strategy.
All of that could change over the next year, but there’s not much chance of predicting what the end result will be – the six months between now and January will be full of more cost-of-living and production changes, and the OLED and mini-price war. LED is just getting started.