Samsung/LG OLED Deal Looks Like It’s Really Happening

December 27, 2021 Topic: Samsung Blog Brand: Korea Watch Tags: SamsungOLED TVsConsumer ElectronicsLG DisplayCES

Samsung/LG OLED Deal Looks Like It’s Really Happening

Samsung nearly made a similar deal in 2017, but that Samsung ended up getting the panels from its own affiliate instead.

It’s been rumored for much of 2021 that Samsung Electronics, after many years of not doing so, was going to purchase OLED panels for its 2021 line of TVs from LG Display. While Samsung recently made a huge investment in a factory to make its own QD-OLED panels, the rumored purchase of panels from LG would be to help meet future demand for panels since the new factory does not produce enough of them yet.

Now, there’s some solid reporting that the Samsung/LG deal is really happening.

The Korea Times reported Monday that Samsung will indeed introduce TVs next year with OLED panels obtained from LG Display. The report cited “sources and analysts familiar with the issue.”

“Based on our internal investigation in Samsung's TV supply chain, it's fair to say Samsung Electronics recently completed quality testing of TVs using LG Display-manufactured OLED panels and put LG Display into its supply system,” a senior fund manager at an American bank in South Korea told Korea Times. The source added that Samsung is considering releasing TVs with the new panels in the North American and European markets in the first half of 2021 at the earliest.

Both companies declined to comment to the Korea Times, the publication said.

The parameters of the deal, the newspaper’s source said, will range between “1.5 million and 2 million glass sheets,” with the money changing hands likely “around a few billion dollars.”

The piece added that Samsung nearly made a similar deal in 2017, but that Samsung ended up getting the panels from its own affiliate instead.

An executive at one of Samsung’s partners told the Korea Times that the deal is part of a diversification strategy on Samsung’s part, which will entail using the LG panels in a “budget” lineup.

The report also stated that Samsung’s chairman Han Jong-hee will address the company’s panel strategy in his planned keynote address at CES in Las Vegas next week.

Several major exhibitors have dropped out of in-person participation in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), due to the Omicron variant, including some with scheduled keynote addresses. But Samsung is still on board, with its presence touting the slogan “A better normal for all.

In the past, Samsung has been vocal about its distaste for OLED panels in TVs, even running campaigns against LG’s TVs, which have competed with its own QLED panels at the high end for the last few years. As recently as this summer, a Samsung executive strongly denied the rumors that Samsung would buy OLED panels, stating that “there is no change in the idea that our QLED TVs have better picture quality than OLED TVs. I’m trying to make it clear that the rumors are groundless.”

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters