Samsung Display officially announced in South Korea Thursday that it is investing 13 trillion won ($11 billion) into hybrid quantum dot/organic light emitting diode (QD-OLED) displays, with plans to begin production of TVs based on the technology in 2021.

The announcement, as reported by the Korea Herald, confirmed unattributed reports from various Korean news outlets in recent months that Samsung Display was indeed transitioning certain 8 Gen LCD panel lines in South Korea to begin the new QD-OLED initiative.

Samsung said that by 2025 it will spend 10 trillion won on the facilities and the rest on research and development to produce more advanced display screens.

Samsung Display will transition its 8 Gen LCD panel production lines at facilities in Asan City, South Chungcheong Province, South Korea, into QD-OLED lines, the report said. The new “Q1” QD-OLED line is expected to see production capacity for 30,000 substrates per month in 2021.

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These mother glass substrates will be cut into smaller QD-OLED panels of various sizes (65 inches and larger) for TVs. The report said Samsung has targeted transitioning all of its 8 Gen LCD lines in Asan by 2025.

Unlike LG’s current WRGB OLED panel technology that uses a white OLED self-emitting light source and color filters to produce red, green and blue subpixels, Samsung has develped a version of QD-OLED TV technology that adopts blue OLED emitters and quantum-dot-based filters that convert the blue light to red and green subpixels for expanded color volume and wide, accurate color gamut reproduction, according to OLED-Info web site.

OLED-Info said Samsung’s technology will likely begin by using a fluorescent blue emitter but the company is working to develop an alternative approach with even greater efficiency in later generations. It is also believed to be using ink-jet printing to implement quantum dot color enhancement. Samsung’s official announcements didn’t get into the technology details.

The company reportedly plans to begin retraining programs for workers and will invest in expanded efforts “to develop new QD materials and revamp the manufacturing processes,” the Korean Herald report stated.

“QDs, semiconductor particles that enable natural and precise color expression, is the new vision of the firm’s large-sized display business,” said Lee Dong-hoon, CEO of the display firm, vowing to lead the premium sector, according the report.

This will be Samsung’s second attempt at producing an OLED-based display technology for the consumer TV market. The company briefly marketed a curved-screen RGB OLED-based television in 2012 but ultimately scrapped that less-efficient-to-produce technology in favor of premium televisions based on quantum-dot enhanced LED (QLED) LCD technology.

The QD-OLED approach is expected to deliver deeper black level reproduction than QLED LCD TVs along with a wide contrast range and very bright colors with a wider range of shades.

The display technology transition comes as several 10.5 Gen LED panel fabs have opened in China capable of churning out very large mother glass sets. The opening has started to generate a panel oversupply situation, forcing both Samsung and LG to scale back LCD panel production in South Korea.

QD-OLED is one approach Samsung will use for next-generation premium TVs. It is also working on self-emitting Micro-LED modules (Samsung calls this The Wall) that can fit together to produce screens of varying sizes ranging up to massive full wall displays. Like QD-OLED, Micro-LED displays are capable of producing new levels of contrast, color and overall picture quality for the next-generation premium TV market.

By Greg Tarr

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