Reports out of S. Korea this week continue to suggest that Samsung Electronics may now be gearing up to produce its first TVs based on Quantum Dot-OLED (QD-OLED) hybrid technology as early as the first quarter of 2022.

Samsung Display first announced in 2019 that it was investing $10.85 billion in QD-OLED TV R&D and production lines, and more recently reports have said the company is already producing early prototype panels using the technology, with plans to begin mass production by the third quarter of this year.

Past reports had also indicated that sister company Samsung Electronics might be pushing back on the hybrid technology out of concern that mass production yields/volume weren’t ready for it market needs, and that mass-produced displays based on Micro LED technology remain the company’s long-term advanced display target.

But reports Wednesday from the Korea Economic Daily, citing “industry sources”, now indicate that Samsung Electronics has committed to moving forward with QD-OLED plans at some level, and that the first Samsung QD-OLED TV models could be ready for market by the first quarter of next year.

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The reports further state that these first models will include TVs in the 55-inch and 65-inch screen sizes, and that products could be demonstrated as early as CES 2022 in Las Vegas this January. Samsung also has plans to introduce a 75-inch QD-OLED TV model later in 2022, the report said.

Not indicated was what resolution level these first panels will support. Some reports have suggested that initial production would not support 8K UHD resolution, which is an important feature in Samsung Electronics’ (called Samsung Visual Display Business) marketing plans for premium-level television sets going forward.

The QD-OLED technology is expected to bring together the benefits of quantum dot color accuracy and color volume with greater brightness and along with the wider viewing angles and superior black reproduction of self-emissive OLED technology. However, some reports also citing “industry sources” have suggested the early QD-OLED samples were having trouble achieving the desired peak brightness and durability levels Samsung Electronics required.

Meanwhile, South Korean technology industry trade website The Elec reported last week that Samsung Electronics, looking to Samsung Display to supply low-temperature polycrystalline (LTPS) thin-film transistor (TFT) technology required for its smaller-sized Micro LED display production plans, asked Samsung Display to begin to produce that technology while at the same time saying “it was more open to receiving supplies of quantum dot (QD)-OLED panels,” knowing Samsung Display would be more cooperative in delivering the LTPS TFT technology it needed if Samsung Electronics was ready to take enough QD-OLED panels to help justify the initial production efforts.

The needed LTPS TFT technology acts as a switch that turns pixels on and off on the display. Samsung Electronics wants to use the LTPS TFT technology on smaller-sized Micro LED applications after having used printed circuit boards (PCB) for its previous Micro LED TVs that exceed 100-inches in size, The Elec reported.

The requests were also made as Samsung Electronics asked Samsung Display to continue to leave running some of its LCD panel production that was scheduled to be shut down. The request for extended LCD panel production was made due to an industry LCD panel supply shortage that had started to develop in the midst of the pandemic toward the end of last year.

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By Greg Tarr

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