LG OLED TV Price Point

LG has reached a significant milestone in its TV business with the launch of the 55EM9600. With this large-screen Organic LED (OLED) panel, the chaebol now has an early head start in the potentially lucrative OLED TV segment.

With a 4mm-thin chassis, the 55EM9600 is currently the slimmest large-screen OLED TV.
(Credit: LG)

The 55EM9600 features a newly developed White OLED (WOLED) technology, which uses white together with standard red, green and blue (RGB) primary colors. According to LG, WOLED panels have the following key advantages compared with their RGB OLED counterparts.

 

  • Stronger color reproduction
  • More competitive pricing
  • Designed for larger screen sizes

 

Lee (left), Kwon (center) and Jang (right).
(Credit: Philip Wong/CNET Asia)LG OLED TV

We met up with three LG top executives to find out the company’s strategies and visions for this emerging display technology. The head honchos from LG’s home entertainment company are:

 

  • Ki-il Kwon, vice president of Overseas TV Sales and Marketing
  • Kwan-sup Lee, vice president of Marketing Communication Division
  • Moon-ik Jang, head of OLED TV Business Division

Q: What are the other advantages of LG OLED TV versus Samsung’s version?

The yield rate of production for WOLED panels is usually higher than the RGB type.

In 2009, LG was already producing 15-inch OLED TVs based on RGB OLED technology, which Samsung is pursuing at the moment. And that’s why we know the limitations and concluded that WOLED is better for big screens.

Q: When is LG launching its OLED TV in Asia and the US? What is the estimated price?

Although the TV design has been finalized, we’re still waiting for the panels to enter mass production. We’ll launch the product in the EU [European Union], US and Korea in the second-half of this year. As for other countries in Asia, we’ll be focusing on more developed markets such as Singapore and Australia.
Our OLED TV will cost around US$10,000.

Q: What are LG’s plans for OLED technology?

This is kind of confidential, but we’ll be launching an ultra-definition (4K) OLED TV by next year.

Q: When will OLED TVs become mainstream, and more importantly, affordable?

It could be as early as 2014. It all depends on the actual OLED technology advancement, but we believe it is possible for OLED TVs to cost as little as 1.5 times pricier than LED TVs. By then, OLED panel makers should have invested in more mass-production lines to bring the price down. But this will largely depend on consumer demand, too.

Q: Will these OLED TVs eventually replace all LED and plasma TVs?

There’ll still be LCD and LED TVs. Even today, there’s still a huge demand for CRT TVs around the world. To further add, it also depends on the pricing and competitiveness of each display type. Moreover, it is more cost effective to manufacture OLED TVs in over 47-inch sizes. By 2015, around 50 percent of such panels will be based on OLED according to our forecasts.

Q: Sony and Panasonic may be entering the OLED TV market. How can LG stay ahead of the competition?

It all boils down to technology innovations. The Japanese brands will try their best to catch up, but we will not be resting on our laurels. Even if they decided to make large-screen OLED TVs, the lead time to acquire the production technologies and equipment will take them at least two years. We would have improved our OLED technology and panel manufacturing costs. After all, this TV competition is all driven by cost.

Q: What is the projected global demand for OLED TVs by end-2012? What is its percentage in terms of the overall TV market share?

We’re projecting around 50,000 units and this is less than one percent of the overall TV market share. Firstly, OLED TVs are still very much in their infancy. Secondly, we’re only selling the panel in the second half of this year leaving us with limited time to market it.