Samsung Targets OLED Television Sales in First Half Following LG

Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest television maker, targets to start selling TVs using a technology allowing brighter and sharper images in the first half to extend its market lead.

The ultra-thin TVs will feature organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs, Yoon Boo Keun, head of Samsung’s consumer electronics unit, said after a company briefing in Seoul today, without giving more details. Samsung also will introduce other smart TVs starting this weekend in South Korea, with features such as voice-recognition capability and 3-D images, the company said in a statement.

Samsung and closest TV-making rival, LG Electronics Inc., are focusing on OLED and other pricier models as unit sales slow amid a shift in consumer preference toward portable devices such as smartphones. A stronger won and a weaker yen are also increasing competitive pressure on the Korean manufacturers from Japan’s Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp.

“We will continue to focus on the premium segment as that’s the fastest-growing market,” Kim Hyun Suk, head of Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung’s TV operations, said at a briefing in Seoul. Sales in the global premium TV market will expand about 30 percent to 40 percent this year, Kim said.

Samsung’s new smart TVs that go on sale this weekend will be priced at about 5 million won ($4,600) for a 55-inch model, Park said. That compares with about 3.6 million won for an LG smart TV.

Brighter Pictures

Television sets using OLEDs offer sharper and brighter images than current liquid-crystal-display models and consume less power. They are also thinner as they don’t require the use of a backlight.

Seoul-based LG said Jan. 2 that it started selling a 55-inch OLED set in South Korea for 11 million won, giving the company a headstart in mass-marketing such TVs. LG will expand OLED TV sales to North America, Europe and other Asian markets in the first quarter, it said at the time.

LG plans to increase TV sales 15 percent this year by focusing more on models using new display technologies, including Internet-enabled TVs featuring 3-D capability and OLEDs, it said Feb. 14.

Samsung’s consumer electronics unit, which makes TVs and home appliances, boosted operating profit to 740 billion won last quarter from 540 billion won a year earlier, helped by high-margin models such as those featuring 3-D capability.

Samsung sold more than 51 million flat-screen TVs worldwide in 2012, while LG sold about 30 million units.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.