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Samsung will be offering OLED TVs too - so how will that work?
The Koreans have a complex TV market strategy for 2022, here's what will likely happen
CES 2022 — during which Samsung, LG and Sony announced their new television models, including Sony’s first MiniLED TVs and the first QD-OLED TVs in the world — was way more exciting for picture quality enthusiasts than previous shows, but it seems that the TV Wars of 2022 have only just begun. New information coming out of South Korea suggests that Samsung is planning to bring to market not just its own QD-OLED TV models but also common OLED TV models — all in the next 6 months or so. If the company follows through with this plan, it will be the first time it’ll be promoting televisions of three different display technologies simultaneously.
Samsung seems to be going ahead with this plan after lengthy negotiations with the biggest manufacturer of OLED panels in the world, LG Display, which took place last year. Sources claim that Samsung managed to get these OLED screens from LG Display at practically the same price LG Electronics does by ordering a staggering number of them (around 2 million units). The company, the same sources claim, targets shipping no less than 1.5 million OLED TVs during 2022, as well as almost 500.000 QD-OLED TV sets and no less than 3 million Neo QLED TVs, all in the same year.
It seems that Samsung is still hammering out the details of its marketing strategy regarding its complex television lineup — that is why, according to industry analysts, it did not share this information with global distributors of its products during the recent CES. Sources state that the company was initially going for a May launch of its OLED TV models but it will probably now be unveiling them in June and launching them in stages around the world. It is not currently known when the QD-OLED TV models Samsung will be promoting are supposed to be launching since the OLED models will be appearing alongside those. Industry rumors suggest, though, that the Koreans would prefer not a give Sony (the only other manufacturer offering QD-OLED TVs in 2022) the first-mover advantage, so… July at the latest?
In any case, this really is one of the most daring moves Samsung has ever made in the tech industry, let alone the TV category alone. The company may be commanding over 30% of TV sales annually on a global scale — with unit sales exceeding 50 million during the last two years — but the vast majority of those TVs are basic, inexpensive sets riding on Samsung’s brand name more than anything else. 2022 is a FIFA World Cup year and all manufacturers expect an uplift in sales, yes, but the aforementioned 5 million TVs the Koreans are planning to ship (Neo QLED/OLED/QD-OLED) are all mid-range to ultra-high-end models, nowhere near as affordable as the models usually making up the bulk of Samsung’s TV sales.
As a result, every industry analyst is interested to see what Samsung’s pricing strategy will be and what competitive advantages the company is planning to focus on, given the fact that it’s now active in all three display technologies available (LCD/OLED/QD-OLED) at once. It will also be interesting to see what the Koreans’ final lineup will look like as there are appearances to keep: QD-OLEDs should be more expensive than ordinary OLEDs but not as expensive as the company’s own Neo-QLED flagships, while OLEDs should be more expensive than mid-range QLED TVs but not significantly so. All of those will have to be considerably more expensive than simple LED/LCD models, but all models should be priced in a way that will not push the flagship models to costs that just aren’t competitive.
Journalists are also curious to see how is Samsung planning to address the elephant in the room on a PR level: the very fact that the company will be promoting OLED, the display technology it consistently undermined for almost a decade. This will not be an easy feat to pull off. “Going OLED” also has… repercussions. Will Samsung support, for instance, the Dolby Vision standard at long last? The best of its own Neo QLED TVs may not need it as much — as being bright enough gives Samsung’s own standard, HDR10 Plus, some room for maneuver in color mapping — but OLED TVs are different in that respect, plus everybody else’s OLED TVs already offer Dolby Vision support. Needless to say, 2022 was already shaping up to be one of the most exciting years yet for the television market and Samsung’s entry into the OLED category will only make it even more so. Let the TV Wars begin!