Rivals of Samsung in the next-generation display race aren't sitting still, but with new QLED development it's seeking to push forward, and has announced a 13.1 billion won initiative to meet them head-on. One of the key things that this massive spending will yield is a new factory in Asan, South Korea. The new factory is due to begin operations in 2021.
The new factory is projected to be able to produce some 30,000 panels in sizes of 65 inches and up per month. This number may not sound like much on paper, but these extremely large panels are still a somewhat nascent luxury market.
The new factory is planned to specialize in quantum dot displays. Samsung announced the new tech in 2017 and is currently marketing it as QLED. These special displays are considered to compete with OLED in color gamut and reproduction, among other metrics, but at a lower price point.
Quantum dot displays use inorganic nano-particles that emit different colors and intensities of light when hit by electricity. This makes colors stand out better, while reducing color and light bleed. They're also very energy-efficient, and easily compete with other display types in that regard.
Samsung's rivals have mostly opted to leave quantum dot technology alone, and are certain to give Samsung that much more competition for it. Many companies out there still manufacture vanilla LCD displays on the cheap, which can compete on price. Others use slightly pricier OLED setups.
LG, Samsung's chief rival in the space, developed its own way of working around a problem with large OLED displays. Samsung got into OLED TVs for a while, but backed down when its fix for short-lived blue OLEDs in screen arrays was derided as clumsy. It made the blue OLEDs twice as big, which affected the displays' color arrays.
LG, meanwhile, solved the issue by putting active color filters over white OLEDs. This solution took a big R&D investment on LG's part, but has paid off thus far by putting the company in a dominant position in the OLED TV space.
Samsung is making a bold bet by doubling down on QLED technology, and is seemingly ready to put a massive push behind it. QLED TVs of the day can compete readily with all but the highest-end OLED displays.
Since they're based on LCD display technology, however, their cost usually runs somewhere around half that of a comparable OLED unit.
Samsung's QLED displays already target the low end of the luxury market. Large panels like the ones to be manufactured at the new plant can end up coming in under $1,000. By doubling down on such a target, Samsung is showing a commitment to outdoing its OLED and LCD rivals by virtue of sales volume.
That goal may well be in reach. Samsung already has a few different units like the ones slated for production that hover around the $1,000 to $2,000 mark in retail.
This new factory is going to be producing displays in sizes 65 inches and larger, which means that they'll mostly run a higher price point than that.
This factory can also become Samsung's new source for specialty large-sized QLED displays. This points to higher-cost and higher-margin use cases like digital signage, stadium jumbotrons, and so on.