Samsung Rumored to Invest Billions in OLED TV Production

Samsung may be preparing to invest in OLED TV panel technology.

If you're planning on upgrading your home theater with a fancy new OLED TV in the next year or so, you may have a familiar name to choose from. A report from South Korea's Pulse suggest that Samsung may be preparing to invest billions of dollars in an effort to begin producing OLED TVs again.

Oled explainer hero


What Is an OLED TV?

The OLED TV market has been occupied by just one competitor—LG Display—since Samsung exited back in 2014 to focus on producing LED TVs. Samsung's last OLED TV was the 55-inch S9C, which was extremely impressive, but also expensive to manufacture. Samsung has recently expressed intentions to return to OLED production in the near future, but these reports suggest that return may be sooner than expected.

The report's sources point to recent industry data suggesting the company is gearing up for an investment of approximately 4 trillion won ($3.3 billion) in OLED technology. If that holds true, Samsung would have OLED TVs on the market "in 2018 at the latest," notes Pulse.

Samsung's last OLED TV hit the market in 2013—to rave reviews.

The main reason that Samsung ceased producing OLED TVs was due to the extremely low manufacturing yield of the technology. According to display analyst Jerry Kang of market research firm IHS, only about 10 percent of early 1080p OLED displays were usable. That yield has since risen to over 90%—though it's slightly less for newer 4K displays—which may be why Samsung is interested in pursuing the technology once again.

While OLED TVs still have some key issues like potential burn-in and relatively high prices, Samsung's entrance into the market could help iron some of these issues out.

This is all speculation right now, but it's right in line with what Samsung's top brass have told us about the OLED manufacturing process for the last few years. And with Panasonic jumping on board the OLED train too, the stage seems set for Samsung to make a return.

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