Samsung's first QD-OLED TV could be delayed amid price dispute

Mike Wheatley

Samsung Electronics could be forced to delay the launch of its first ever QD-OLED TV, currently slated for mid-2022.


South Korean tech industry outlet The Elec says Samsung’s Visual Display Business, which is the business unit that sells its TVs, has so far failed to reach an agreement with its sister organization, Samsung Display, over the price it should pay for the quantum-dot OLED panels.

The negotiations over the price per unit began last year, but have now reportedly stalled, The Elec said. Samsung’s Visual Display Business is reportedly insisting it will only pay the same price as what LG Display charges for its regular, White-OLED display panels. Samsung Display reportedly rejects that however, saying that such terms are unacceptable.

The Visual Display unit is quite ruthlessly refusing to budge though, saying that if its terms are not met then it will simply delay the launch of its QD-OLED TV, which is allegedly planned for the middle of the year.

The Elec says that would mean Sony will be the first brand in the world to get a QD-OLED TV into the shops. The Japanese firm had already beaten Samsung to announce its first model, but has not yet indicated when it will go on sale.

Samsung Display is now in a bit of a pickle. The company is said to be struggling with low production yields of around 30%, meaning just three in ten of the panels it manufactures are actually good enough to be sold. So those few panels that are sold also have to bear the manufacturing costs of the 70% that are scrapped.

Samsung Visual Display Businesses’ insistence on paying a lower price could mean the QD-OLED panels are unprofitable for Samsung Display. At the same time, Samsung Display needs Samsung as a customer, given that it has already invested around $10 billion into QD-OLED production.

It’s not clear exactly what price Samsung Display has quoted to the Visual Display Business, but The Elec’s sources say they’re likely offering the QD-OLED panels at around $100 more than LG Display’s WOLED panels. The Visual Display Business aims to buy 500,000 units of QD-OLED, the report said.

Samsung Display could well have an ace up its sleeve however, thanks to the support of Lee Jae-yong, who is the Vice Chairman of Samsung Electronics and therefore, the overall head honcho of the entire business.

Lee has visited Samsung Display’s QD-OLED manufacturing plant on more than one occasion and was reportedly the driving force behind Samsung’s decision to reevaluate entering the OLED TV business. His personal interest in QD-OLED’s success could see him step in to try and resolve the dispute, The Elec said.