LG Display will be rolling out 48-inch OLED TVs in 2020, according to a top executive.
“It’s a strategy to solidify our footing in the high-end TV market, while continuing to have presence in the standard and premium segments,” Oh Chang-ho, the South Korean display-maker’s vice president of the TV business told the China Business News on May 24.
The remarks came on the sidelines of a recent press tour for the Chinese media at LG Display’s domestic OLED supply lines.
The new 48-inch OLED TV is to feature a 4K high definition resolution. This means picture quality will stay unchanged while the size goes down. In terms of pixel density also, the 48-inch TV is technologically more sophisticated than existing OLED TVs of 55-inchs and larger.
The pixels per inch – the measure for pixel density – for the 48-inch 4K OLED TV will be 91.8. A larger 55-inch TV with the same picture resolution has a lower PPI of 80.1, while the 65-inch has a 67.8 PPI, and the 77-inch a 57.2 PPI.
The higher the PPI, the smaller the thin-film-transistors controlling pixel surface and pixels, meaning more pixels are spread across the panel to make for better picture quality.
Ahn Seung-mo, LGD’s executive vice president for the Chinese TV business, said in an interview with China Electronic News Agency that such distinction is a part of the company’s sales strategy. The 77-inch and 65-inch TVs will also come in 4K, while the 88-inch comes in 8K.
The 8K 88-inch TVs that LG Electronics will launch this summer will have a PPI of 100.1, which is only slightly better than the 4K OLED TVs.
In terms of PPI, if the 88-inch 8K OLED panels can be mass produced, there is no reason not to manufacture 48-inch 4K OLED panels. The yield for mass production will also be improved.
The problem is pricing.
LG needs to figure out how to mass produce OLED TVs without forfeiting its premium edge.
According to market research firm IHS, the average sales price for the 4K OLED TV is US$2,333 dollars (2.76 million won), which is about 400,000 won higher than for the QD-LCD TV of the same picture resolution that has a price tag of US$1,991 (2.36 million).
LG Display said that its large-sized OLED panels are being sold as soon as they roll off the supply lines.
According to China Business News, LGD’s executive vice president for the TV business’s global promotion Ko Kyu-young said that, “Even if we sell more large-sized OLED panels for TVs, we won’t be undermining the LCD market share by cutting OLED panel prices.”
This is possible because LG’s premium TVs are selling enough to match the OLED panel supply.
Meanwhile, LG Display has been stepping up measures to improve its reputation with the Chinese media. For a while, the Chinese press had coined the term “keng wang(坑王)” as a nickname for LGD. It means “someone who puts other people in trouble.”
This was after smartphone OLED panels that LG Display supplied to Xiaomi and Huawei manifested major glitches. LG Display also vied to supply flexible OLED panels to Huawei’s P30 smartphones that were rolled out this March, but wasn’t chosen.
In the large TV OLED panel market, however, LG Display has no real competition yet.
“We expect to sell 300000 – 400000 OLED TVs in China this year,” said Ko. “Next year, the number will go up to over 1 million.”
This year, LG Display is projected to manufacture 4 million TV OLED panels. Next year, it’s expected to climb to 7 million panels. Sales from the Chinese market, which accounted for less than 10 percent of its overall OLED panel sales, is also forecast to climb to 15 percent with the volume jumping by 3 times.