Sony and Pansonic’s announcement that they will jointly develop OLED TV displays with mass production in 2013 puts them – along with Chinese and Taiwanese panel makers – in the race to catch up with Samsung and LG Display in the development of OLED TV.
However, despite hopes that OLEDs would soon revitalize the TV industry, it certainly will not have an impact in 2012. In our most recent Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report, we revised our 2012 OLED TV forecast from 50 to 20 thousand units.
Since Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics showcased first 55” OLED TV competitively at CES in January, the two have been in a race to be first to lanch an OLED TV, and competiton has been severe, with each highlighting the weak points of the other’s technology and trying to upstage each others public exhibitions and planning launch timing for just before the time when they think the other will launch.
However, the determining factor for product launch is when complete OLED panel technology is ready for mass production, so for 2012, we can use a simple equation for forecasting:
OLED TV Demand = OLED Panel Supply
Since the market is determined by supply in the short term, the lack of timely supply means that the potential market of 50K units in 2012 is not possible. Coming into July, mass production of OLED panels is not ready, and 3Q panel production means completed OLED TV set starting timing will be Q4’12 at best.
The other factor, of course, is that the incumbent technology is dynamic and extremely competitive in terms of value and price. 60” LED-backlit LCD TVs are expected to fall to $999 for Black Friday, while 70” and larger sizes will likely be available at aggressive pricing as well. LCD TVs using oxide TFTs may be available in 4K x 2K format could also have a big impact on 55” OLED TVs when they are launched. Just as in smartphones, where Apple has used high resolution LCD to compete with Samsung’s AMOLED phones, consumers could see contrast ratio and high resolution as offering greater benefit.