Reports were churning out of S. Korea Friday over anonymous information that Samsung Electronics has had discussions with LG Display about Samsung allegedly looking to purchase OLED TV panels from LG Display.

Publications including: MTN, ETNews, Chosun and Seoul Economic Daily reported today that Samsung Electronics may be looking for a hedge against surging LCD panel prices and supply shortages, and LG’s OLED panels are one of the best available options. LGD is ramping up output of OLED TV panels from a new fab in China (pictured at top) through a partnership with China’s Skyworth.

The long-running competitive rivalry between LG and Samsung makes the reports seem dubious, especially since Han Jong-hee, president of Samsung Electronics Video Display business has denied past speculation that the company might re-enter the OLED TV category.

We reached out to representatives with Samsung Electronics America and LG Display. A spokesperson with SEA said the company had no comment at this time.

Samsung has frequently pointed out that OLED technology is vulnerable to image retention (“burn-in”) and abbreviated lifespans if not handled properly, and it previously exited the OLED TV category after a brief flirtation in 2012 offering a set based on its own RGB OLED panel technology.

“According to industry officials, senior management of Samsung Electronics and LG Display recently met and agreed to supply OLED,” a report in MTN.co.kr said today. “The supply scale is known to be 1 million units in the second half of this year and 4 million units next year.”

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LG Display has been the world’s primary supplier of television-sized OLED panels based on its WRGB technology that is more economically produced and less vulnerable to premature aging of organic materials used in panel construction than RGB OLED technologies.

LGD already supplies OLED panels to other TV manufacturers and vendors including: Sony, Skyworth, Philips, B&O and others.

Display market research firm DSCC recently reported that sales of OLED televisions are poised for significant growth in the global advanced display market.

“As the pandemic kept people locked up, consumers around the world upgraded their homes with Advanced TVs in 2020,” said Bob O’Brien, Co-Founder and Principal Analyst at DSCC. “An increasing share of those consumers chose OLED TVs in Q4 2020. The introduction of 48” OLED TV in 2020 helped broaden the choices available to consumers, and this puts OLED TV makers in a great position for continued growth in 2021.”

According to a recent report by Korean trade news web site The Elec, Samsung Display, the sister company to Samsung Electronics specializing in the production of video display panels, is stepping up production of a hybrid QD-OLED panel technology, and Samsung Electronics has asked for sample televisions and proof that Samsung Display can meet its large-scale mass-production needs.

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By Greg Tarr

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