AMOLED TV’s cost 10x more than LCDs to make

A new report from DisplaySearch today shows that TV-sized OLED panels remain prohibitively expensive to manufacture. According to their data, AMOLED price premiums over LCDs range from 30% for smartphone-sized panels to an order of magnitude greater for a 55” TV-sized display.

AMOLED TVs make great tradeshow demos but the data continues to prove the technology is more vaporware than a viable consumer product in the TV space. With major quality improvements coming for LCDs like 8K resolution, higher dynamic range and wide color gamut, AMOLED faces an uphill battle in the race to become the display technology of the future.

OLED TV’s: bullish or bearish?

A recent DisplaySearch report reveals that manufacturing issues continue to plague OLED TV production.  The analyst firm writes:

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.

This information has lead DisplaySearch to revise down its OLED forecast from 50k units to just 20k produced in 2012.

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.

Even this lower projection may prove too bullish. If complete sets do not start rolling off assembly lines until Q4 ’12, OLED makers have very little room for error to move a significant volume of units by the end of the year.

An even bigger problem for OLED technology might be that LCDs are continuing to provide stiff competition. In the same report, DisplaySearch highlights the “dynamic, extremely competitive” nature of LCDs:

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.

CES 2013 should be an especially interesting indicator for the future of TV panel technology, as we will have a clearer picture of what OLED makers can deliver, while LCD makers drive down price and introduce new sets with higher resolution, deeper blacks and wide color gamut.