10 months ago

Day 5 - IFA International

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Exclusive Interview New TV Technologies Patents help push LG’s roll-out of OLED TV How the Korean giant is tooling up for the future into hard sales By Neil Crossley It’s being hailed as the world’s largest commercially available OLED TV and with a width measuring just 0.29cm, LG Electronics’ new 31 inch OLED 3D TV is certainly the slimmest. Produced in collaboration with LG Display, the model can project all existing colour levels, including the full palette of dark colours, under any viewing conditions and from any angle. LG says that, in addition to offering “superlative” 2D images, the full HD (1920 x 1080) OLED TV also delivers the very best in smooth and immersive 3D images. The eco-friendly production of OLED (organic light emitting diodes) is a significant selling point. Made with no harmful materials such as lead and mercury, LG says that OLED technology minimises pollutant emissions and waste by using fewer parts and materials, dispensing entirely with liquid crystal, colour filters and backlight units. The OLED construction process itself is a radical departure from existing techniques and involves bubbles filled with colour being printed directly onto the glass. As the production involves an entirely new manufacturing process, price is a significant concern. LG’s first OLED TV, the 15 inch 15EL9500, which was rolled out earlier this year, has a recommended retail price of e2,000. And LG acknowledges that the current high RRP is an obstacle to the development of OLED technology. “The price-performance ratio is obviously something we have to work on,” says a spokesperson for LG Electronics. “Because it’s printed, the OLED technology needs completely different manufacturing, so we need to build up some factories for that. But the price will obviously improve as soon as we have the capabilities to produce a lot more OLED displays and when the market say, ‘Okay, this is something we really want”. LG’s 31 inch OLED TV, which is being showcased at IFA, will be launched in 2011 and will fuel the promotion of OLED technology. But one significant factor that will boost LG’s roll-out of OLED is the fact that it owns the patents, which it bought from companies such as Kodak. “LG Display is now holding all paten sung, meanwhile, showcased two OLED TV panels in 2009, the 14.1 inch and the 31 inch, which are production ready. But neither Sony or Samsung seem to be pushing OLED technology. A spokesperson for Samsung said that the price-toperformance ratio would result in an unrealistically high price tag, although the company has certainly not ruled out launching OLED models in the future. LG has no doubt that the picture quality of OLED is superior to that of LED. But it admits that the roll-out of OLED TVs is in the early stages. “It depends on how our dealers accept this new technology. If the dealers tell us, ‘We’re not believing in this’, that’s not going to help the story.” Despite such issues, LG is moving ahead with the development of OLED. The first half of 2011 will see the completion of a new factory in Korea for the production of OLED TVs and the launch of the 31 inch OLED TV. “LG Display is now holding all patents for OLED technology” 22

HALL PLAN IFA International • Tuesday, 7 th September 2010 23

IFA International