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DisplaySearch: Expect ‘12 OLED TV Deliveries

Santa Clara, Calif. — Despite production snags that thwarted any pre-Olympics introductions of Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) TVs this summer, panel makers are gearing up for commercialization of the first 55-inch OLED TVs before the end of this year, according to a study released by NPD’s DisplaySearch Monday.

According to the NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report, OLED TV panel makers and set manufacturers are targeting commercialization this year, and at least 500 OLED TVs will ship in 2012, DisplaySearch believes.

“While this is a very small quantity in comparison to the total TV market, the start of shipments will be an important breakthrough,” the market research firm notes.

Samsung and LG Electronics have previously shown 55-inch FullHD OLED TVs, and LG has said it expected to make deliveries before the end of this year.

Earlier in the year, DisplaySearch had speculated the summer Olympics would have been an appropriate release window, but mass production challenges and expected high retail prices may interfered with those plans, the firm said.

According to David Hsieh, NPD Display Search VP, “If we do see OLED TVs hit the market within 2012, the shipments will be used primarily for retail demonstrations in developed regions like North America and Europe.” Hsieh added, “4K-by-2K LCD TVs have become a focus and are currently available, and OLED TV needs to demonstrate its technical superiority.”

NPD DisplaySearch is forecasting OLED TV panel production to remain low, as LG and Samsung continue their efforts to increase production yields.

Meanwhile, TV makers in Taiwan, China and Japan will begin AMOLED TV panel production in 2014, according to DisplaySearch, when the firm forecasts that OLED TV shipments will pass one million units.

By 2016, OLED penetration of the TV market is forecast to exceed 3 percent.

NPD DisplaySearch has identified several key technical and market challenges that OLED TV will need to overcome:

•        Technical challenges in manufacturing large OLED panels —for example 55 inches — for TV as opposed to small (less than 5 inches) panels currently being made in high volumes for smart phones

•        Manufacturing limitations of having only two Gen 8 OLED lines for TV panels, both still in pilot mode, with low manufacturing yields that keep costs high and limit the ability to meet demand

•        High retail price, which will initially be around $10K for a 55-inch OLED TV

•        Potential competition from 4K-by-2K (ultra-high definition) LCD TVs, which are being developed by panel makers in Taiwan, China, and Japan, while their Korean counterparts have been focused on OLED TV panels.