OLED TV Unlikely To Be Affordable Any Time Soon

Mike Wheatley

There’s bad news in store for anyone awaiting the day when those glorious new OLED TVs become even remotely affordable. The latest report on AMOLED production from NPD DisplaySearch reveals that manufacturers aren’t going nowhere fast in their efforts to boost low production yields and reduce the cost of making them.

Oled TV
OLED TV unlikely to be affordable any time soon

According to NPD’s latest quarterly AMOLED Panel Cost Report, manufacturing costs are set to remain excessively high when compared to regular LCD panels, which will likely limit adoption by consumers. NPD warns that unless manufacturers can find a way to boost production yields soon, those shiny new OLED TVs are likely to remain out of reach for the average consumer.

NPD estimates that current manufacturing costs for OLED display panels are around seven times that of LCD panels, hence the huge price discrepancy between the two display technologies. The average AMOLED panel costs exactly $2,454 to produce – when one factors in all the other costs of producing OLED TVs, that explains why LG’s newest range were priced in excess of $10,000 when they first hit the shops in South Korea earlier this year.

“Estimated costs for manufacturing a full 55-inch AMOLED Panel were $2,454 during the first quarter of 2013, as a result of low yields,” stated Tadashi Uno, NPD’s Director of Materials and Components Market Research.

“When yields improve, we can expect to see the cost of OLED TVs fall significantly, but this will only happen gradually over the next two years. Even then, they will remain more expensive than equivalent LCD panels.”

NPD explains that AMOLED production yields are lower than those of LCD panels because manufacturing processes haven’t yet matured. It says that depreciation, materials and personnel expenses are the main factors linked to the low yield rate – therefore, manufacturers will need to improve yields faster if they are to make OLED TVs competitive against LCDs.

By the first quarter of next year, NPD says it’s hopeful manufacturing costs will fall by around 35% from today’s levels, but even then they will still be five times more expensive to produce than LCD panels.

To date, manufacturing yields have been so problematic that Samsung has yet to announce a release date for its own OLED TV products, despite first showing them off almost 18 months ago at the January 2012 CES.

Source: NPD DisplaySearch