A big shakeup might be coming to the AV world as Samsung may start producing OLED TVs with panels sourced by rival LG, according to a report from Korean broadcaster MTN spotted by Sammobile. The two companies have reportedly inked a conditional deal for Samsung to buy up to 1 million OLED panels from LG in the second half of 2021 and up to 4 million panels in 2022.
Samsung has famously stuck to its QLED technology for high-end TVs, though it's one of the largest manufacturers of OLED displays for smartphones. Meanwhile LG is committed to OLED for its more expensive TVs and also supplies Sony and other manufacturers with OLED panels. If accurate, the news that Samsung could build at least some OLED TVs would be a significant industry change.
The rumor makes some sense given recent changes in the flat panel business. As Yonhap just reported, LG and Samsung are shifting focus from LCD TVs over to higher-end models. LCD supply is now driven by Chinese companies like BOE, CSOT and HKC, which currently occupy the top three spots in panel manufacturing.
To that end, LG Display is planning to ramp up profitable OLED panel production capacity "as part of its effort to dominate the OLED market," according to TrendForce. Of the 25 million panels it shipped last year, 8 million were reportedly OLEDs, so it would make sense to boost production in order to meet Samsung's orders.
Samsung, meanwhile, is focusing on its new hybrid QD-OLED tech with the first TVs set to hit the market in the Q4 2021. However, it has supposedly seen production yield issues, which may have forced it to source OLEDs from LG instead.
Samsung and LG have also worked together before, as Samsung was previously said to be in talks with LG to source LCD display panels. However, while a deal between the two does make some sense, neither company has confirmed the rumor, so the reported deal might never pan out.