LG ready to unleash new OLED TVs next month

A renewed vigor in the consumer electronics market can be seen as LG Electronics Inc had reportedly placed orders for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) televisions as it tries to outperform Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in the electronics displays area.

Both companies introduced 55-inch OLED TVs about a year ago. This new breed of TVs is expected to cost five times higher than current liquid crystal displays (LCD) sets when it will be released next month.

OLED technology is considered the future of electronics displays for consumers because it offers a much better resolution and higher contrast images, as well as more energy efficiency. Screen displays using the technology can be made so thin that they can be folded like a paper.

The world’s number 2 television manufacturer, LG Electronics,  announced that OLED TVs will start hitting shelves starting early February, as it plans to showcase them at 1,400 retail stores across South Korea.

Markets from the United States, Europe, and other Asian countries will see the new product during the first quarter of 2013.

A 55-inch model in South Korea will be priced at 11 million won ($10,300)–four times as pricey as that of a regular LG Electronics LED-lit LCD model, and about five time more expensive than the current common LCD sets.

The announcement of new OLED-TV launch sent the stocks of LG Electronics to rise 5.4 percent on Wednesday, the company’s biggest daily percentage increase in 5 months.

The LG Display Co Ltd division, the unit which manufactures the OLDED panel in the new LG Electronics TV, also saw a rise in stocks to 1.8 percent.

According to research institute DisplaySearch, worldwide OLED-TV sales forecast will boom from 50,000 units to 1.7 million units in 2014. Such figure is obviously just a fraction of the estimated 250 million TVs of all types to be sold for this year.

Woori Investment & Securities analyst Sophia Kim said that the launch has more of a symbolic meaning for the South Korean firm to show that it has the capability to commercialize the technology a step ahead of its rivals.

“It will take another two to three years for OLED sets to become more affordable and thus commercially successful, because consumers will start buying them when prices halve to around 5 million won,” Ms Kim said.

Popular Samsung’s Galaxy S and Note smartphones already employ OLED displays.

The challenge for OLED manufacturers like Samsung Display and LG Display is to find ways to lower the production costs in making the OLED screens to compete against LCD panels.

Samsung and LG had targeted to release their new OLED TVs in time for 2012 Superbowl in early February but manufacturing hurdles forced them to miss the TV buying spree in the U.S. associated with the games.

source: reuters

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