back to article Samsung, LG 'lose confidence' in OLED TV tech

Don’t expect reasonably priced OLED TVs to hit the market for a fair few years yet. Do, however, expect 4K x 2K Ultra HD LCD TVs to be all the rage in 2013. So suggests David Hsieh, an analyst at NPD DisplaySearch, a market watcher. He claims to have detected a change in the mood of those two major display manufacturers, …


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  1. robert_raw

    That decides it then, that spare £10k I had sitting in my change jar on the mantle piece will be better spent elsewhere.

  2. Toxteth O'Gravy

    Damn right - mine's going into a deposit on a house. I have any left, THEN I'll decide whether I buy a TV to put in it (probably not given the current broadcast output).

  3. fishman


    Even if OLED and 4K x 2K TVs were reasonably priced, there would be little reason for most people to replace their exisiting kit until it dies.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Yawn.

      That's true for much consumer electronics. Oh, except for the word "consumer".

    2. Christian Berger

      Re: Yawn.

      Well it would make sense for computer monitors. A 4k x 2k computer monitor surely would be a big step up from what's currently affordable.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bubble memory anyone?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Making LCD panels with four times as many pixels per unit area as a 1920 x 1080 set is tricky too, of course"

    Of course? What do you mean, of "course"?

    Stopping to think even a second should have revealed that this is obviously not the case. If they can punch out a 24 inch 1080p panel (which they self-evidently can and do, in their millions) then this by definition has four times the pixels per unit area as a 48 inch panel.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Okay, they meant "making panels with four times the pixels is tricky". There is just a greater chance of getting a dead pixel, consuming the whole panel to either recycling bin or a budget brand.

    2. Ashley Stevens

      Not true!

      Assume for a moment that your hypothetical 24" panel has 75% yield. So one out of every 4 panels is dead. Now take a panel four times the size, equal to four of your 24" panels. 1 out of every 1 is dead, i.e. 0% yield.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Expensive and the screens have a short life span. So not really much use in replacing a Plasma for one.

  7. Beamerboy

    So my 28" Widescreen CRT will have to wait a bit longer to be replaced by OLED, or 4K, not that I have even any 720p HD inputs let alone anything more modern!

    Seriously it always seems waiting for the next big thing in TV at the moment, I'll keep hold of mine until it goes bang then gets whatever is latets and greatest at that point, though I assume I'll be watching the same old dross...

    1. John King 1


      Any idea of the power consumption of your 28" CRT? Depending on how often you watch television you may end up saving money by buying a decent 32" LCD now.

      A new Samsung 32" LED LCD HD telly (e.g. 32EH5000) uses around 35W and is £260. But you could get an equivalent model for around £200 if you shopped around.

      I wonder how many years of regular use it would take before the costs evened out?

      1. Dig

        Re: Pricey?

        About 7 years based on your £200 price 15p a unit and 9 hours a day 365 days a year and a 90W consumption by the CRT.

        1. Fibbles

          Re: Pricey?

          That assumes electricity prices will remain flat for 7 years. I can pretty much guarantee this will not be the case.

        2. Frank Bough

          Re: Pricey?

          My old 28" CRT sucked 180W, the LCD that replaced it was typically around 30W.

          Of course, the plasma I have now sucks over 200, but that's progress...

  8. Andy 115

    Is it just me…

    Or have the manufacturers got themselves caught up in their own reality distortion fields?

    TVs were (relatively expensive) and the vast majority of people only "upgraded" due to the fact that the old one died.

    Then came along digital (or was it thin TVs that didn't look like they were being watched through a Vaseline smear?) and a large chunk of people upgraded in a relatively short space of time.

    The manufacturers saw this and assumed that this (one off) rapid upgrade cycle was going to be the new norm only to find out that people really aren't interested in incremental upgrades like FullHD, 3D etc. etc.

    They only need to look back 20 years to see there was no "mass upgrade" simply because fasttext, Dolby surround or flat (CRT) screens were introduced - people saw these as features to consider when upgrading, NOT (generally) a reason to upgrade of itself.

  9. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Wait and see

    Existing OLED production techniques do not scale very well but, I suspect that it's not just the potential cost that is responsible for any delay - Sony is after all pushing an outrageously expensive screen - but a combination of two things: very high demand for screens for phones, so much so for Samsung that they probably have no spare capacity for anything bigger than the Note II; perfecting Dupont's printing technique. Once they can shift from the not just tricky vacuum-based production to printing then size is no longer an issue.

    Regarding OLED vs LCD uHD, this is a red herring as there is little or no uHD content but the fabs can tool up for TVs with similar kit for the very high resolution phone and tablet screens they are producing. Tests conducted by Heise at IFA indicated there is a marked preference for OLED over LCD-uHD which is not surprising when you know a little how the eye works. As people will pay a small premium for uHD it is an interesting differentiator for manufacturers in what is a cuthroat market with the only profits to be found in the higher end and ginormous devices.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Wait and see

      I don't know if they use it, but Sony at least have a market for small screens with very accurate colour- until a few years ago, they were still selling $5,000 15" CRTs to the broadcast industry.

      1. Frank Bough

        Re: Wait and see

        Now they sell OLEDs - we use BVM E series for our online suites. They're very good.

  10. zemerick

    Well, plenty of uHD content does exist...just not for TV.

    PC games scale. Yes, you would need either a fairly new video card so you can have a Displayport socket, or you could have 2 DVI-D cables ( which goes back several generations, but is much more of a clumsy solution. )

    Personally, I hope to see a uHD computer monitor soon. Although, I hope they aren't as ridiculously priced as the 1600s still are. Seriously, you can get a 10" tablet for under $500 that is 2560x1600 but if you want just a 2560x1600 monitor it's over $1000 in most cases:(

    Also, the fact that I haven't even seen a hint of a uHD monitor, suggests to me that these screens won't be anywhere near main stream in 2013. People won't care about uHD in large numbers until the price gets fairly close to current screens. ( Both TV and Monitors. ) Typically, the $1,000 mark is when things start to shift.

    I could be wrong, and hope I am, but I don't see that happening in the next year.

    1. Christian Berger

      There is a hint

      Eizo actually has a few really high resolution screens.

      Here's a 10 megapixel monochrome one:

      And here's an 8 megapixel colour one:

      Unfortunately both are completely unafordable.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ok, so things might start moving in 2014. I was hoping for OLED to have started making its mark this year but never mind. I'm not in a hurry to buy a new TV at the moment anyway. I'll be happy to wait another 5 years if I need to by which time I might be postponing it until Super High Def (8K) screens come out;).

    I know the TV manufacturers want to maximise their profit for minimum investment but I don't think they've played the game very well over the last 5 or so years. They ramped up production too much and failed to notice the point at which most people who wanted to had upgraded. They're now stuck with price cutting and hoping that people are daft enough to want to upgrade for things like 3D and "smart" tellies. As if!

    No, I think they'd better get their skates on and get OLED out of the door at reasonable prices as soon as they can. 1080p will do for most people for the moment. It'll be a while before people are streaming 4k content across fibre on a regular basis in any case. If they play their cards right this time, then people will be willing to pay a bit of a premium for OLED over LCD, perhaps even a big premium a la plasma in days gone by. If they miss this opportunity, they'll be killing their own industry IMHO.

    Sort it out!

  12. tempemeaty

    It's the "O" that's got me spooked

    OLED, "O" is for organic. That is why I'm not to hip on this. I know organics materials don't last forever. I'm not on board with this until I've seen proof this choice in materials its not going to lead to a rapid degrading of the products using it as they age.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: It's the "O" that's got me spooked

      OLED short life was deemed acceptable in phones as they get lost, broken, upgraded, nor is screen on 16 hours a day as it is with some people (my mother maybe watches 4hrs TV, but switches it on at breakfast time... ) . There was always scepticism that the technology would scale to larger displays with acceptable yield and that people would accept a short life. It's not like "real" R G B LEDs as used in large stadium and hall panels (and presumably the Sony "Crystal" display), they are more like printed "organic" EL with diode characteristics and phosphors and filters to get the colour.

      I can't see OLED ever being mainstream on larger than cheap phones. If Sony solve yield and production issues on their "crystal" display that will kill OLED for TV.

      A hybrid LCD / LED is also an option, some panels already use R G B LED arrays instead of simple "white" LED backlights on LCD to enhance low resolution picture contrast and quality. Perhaps one R G B set of LEDs for a 3 x 3 or 4 x 4 block of LCD pixels and then no filter stripes. If the LEDs can be fabricated to have only one polarisation then even greater efficiency is possible with the LCD pixels.

      For TV use the signal doesn't even have full resolution RGB, only Luminance because the eye is less sensitive to colour detail than brightness detail, especially on moving images.

      1. Esskay

        Re: It's the "O" that's got me spooked

        Even phone OLED screens struggle will colour reproduction - It's the blue OLED sub-pixels that have the issue, they simply don't have the life of the others. As a result, the blue is "boosted" - to give a bit of a buffer for when the sub-pixel starts to fade.

        As a result, if you have a close look at (for example, since I have one) samsung's super-OLED screens, the white colours will have a bluish tinge on them - as the screens age, this will tend towards a more neutral white, followed by a pinkish tinge as the blue OLEDs wear down.

  13. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Down

    Well, that settles that...

    ...looks like the wife and I will hang onto the little LCD digital set in the kitchen and the 30" flat direct-view CRT hooked up to the satellite box in the bedroom. Working fine for us.

    Somehow, I just can't see throwing down all that cash for a 4k x 4k flatscreen just so we can watch crap like "Project Runway" on it.

    1. Jon B

      Re: Well, that settles that...

      What about the kid's TV? Or are you too occupied watching Sky in the bedroom to have reached that life stage yet?

  14. FutureShock999

    The real competition isn't TVs

    If you want to watch 4k content, the only appropriate use is 55"+ viewing - mostly because TV content is just so crap that it isn't worth the extra detail. Movies and sports are where it will be at. And having just done the math, if you want 55"+ viewable, you are usually better off taking the leap and moving to a projector, and going for the whole 80-100" image. It will be the same price, especially if you don't care about 3D (some very fine 2D 1080p projectors on the market still at around £800, like the Epson 3200, and 4k projectors are only around £2500), and doesn't dominate the room unless you are using it. Actually, at the price they are thinking about these OLED screens, you can get an rather outstanding 4k projector....

    1. Downside

      Re: The real competition isn't TVs

      £2500 for a 4k projector? Really? Those JVC PJ's arent really 4k...

      I'd happily have one for that, if they could start bunging out 4k versions of movies on demand or blue ray. I'm assuming the next xbox or PS4 can do 4K, and as I spend most of my TV time playing games or watching movies, I'm all in. OLED? Meh. Projectors FTW

      1. StooMonster

        Re: The real competition isn't TVs

        Also those 4K projectors out there now tend not to be native 4K, at least not the cheaper ones, they simulate 4K by offsetting pixels. There are real 4K physical pixel projectors, but they cannot accept a 4K signal as an input and only upscale 1080p to quad-HD.

        If you want a real 4K projector you are still going to have to wait for one that has both 4K resolution (really, not pseudo) plus 4K over HDMI. But we should see them in 2013, same is true of 4K / quad-HD HDTVs as you'll have to watch out for early models that do not accept signal and only upscale 1080p.

        For optimal viewing you'll also need a 4K source, but luckily the 4K format for Blu-ray is imminent (as is 4K support in HDMI).

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: The real competition isn't TVs

      Also a projector 3:1 optical zoom makes sense. Small screen for 16:9 regular TV and largest for near 3:1 made for Cinema on BluRay etc

      approx 28" (4:3 diagonal, 36" if 16:9 with bars at side) is grand for made for 4:3 content (you really don't want more than 28" on VHS, why has a 42" HDTV no "shrink" function?)

      36" for Academy format old B&W

      42" for made for TV HD

      72" (16:9 diagonal) for wider than 2.3:1 made for Cinema HD.

      All approximate for a 2.5m approx viewing distance

      I'm not interested in Stereoscopic TV. Wake me when they figure how to do consumer 3D.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great. More technology without content.

    I live in Australia. In theory, we have a number of free to air HD TV channels. In practice, Australian HDTV quality is crap because the video is heavily compressed at the video encoder to enable the addition of multiple SD channels. The result is unimpressive. It is highly unlikely that 4K content will ever be broadcast in Australia, and there is currently no way to rent 4K movies. Quality has deteriorated as the number of channels has increased. The only way that I could possibly get any use out of a 4K TV is if I plug it into my PC and use it to play games. Fortunately my graphics card would be able to handle it.

    1. StooMonster

      Re: Great. More technology without content.

      Like ITV here in UK they use 1440x1080 anamorphic, rather than 1920x1080, and also use low-bandwidth high-compression. Not good.

      In UK I find one of the worst offenders to be the channel previous called FX but rebranding to Fox, sometimes they use such little bandwidth that there's no detail at all and it's like watching your programmes smeared with vacaline.

  16. MrLikerBiker

    Still waiting

    Like others have mentioned, I will be holding on to my 28" CRT as I don't want to waste money on an LCD. Been waiting years for OLED to become available. Don't understand this obsession with size, a 32 inch OLED HDTV will fit in my lounge just fine. Any higher resolution is pointless as the broadcast bit rates are generally pants. If SD was broadcast at its full quality level then you probably wouldn't need HD anyway.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a racket...

    So now we are expected to replace our 1-2 year old plasmas and LEDs with 4x2K and then 1-2 years after that they will expect us to change those to HD OLEDs and then 1-2 years after that we need to change those with 4x2K OLEDS.... etc etc.

    At's all planned, folks. They could deliver OLEDs right now, but they will make much more money this way.

    And we also have to update our BD players to cope with 4x2K and ofcourse change our entire BD and DVD collection to 4x2K.....

    What a racket!

    Also, what't the point of 4x2K when nothing transmit in this format and no players exist yet?

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