Samsung says game over for LCD, switches to LED

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Samsung says game over for LCD, switches to LED


Samsung Electronics, the world’s No. 1 TV maker, said it will stop producing TVs with liquid crystal display (LCD) displays within the first half of this year.

“All of Samsung’s factories that currently manufacture LCD TVs in Mexico, Hungary, Slovakia, Russia, Vietnam and other countries will switch over to producing TVs with light-emitting diodes,” an official at the company said this week.

LCD was essential in making flat-screen TVs in the early stages before the use of LEDs started to become widespread.

Samsung Electronics will first change the production line at one of its larger-scale factories in Mexico that has produced around 20 percent of its global TV sales, so that it can produce more LED TVs within the first quarter. The facility can produce 10 million TVs a year. Samsung sold 51.3 million flat-screen TVs globally last year.
Before switching its attention to its overseas bases, the company changed all of its factories in Korea last year so that they can produce LED TVs.

It said the change will help it make more appealing products for consumers and is economical, given that LEDs can light up without any external light sources, whereas LCD require extra lamps.

LEDs also consume less electricity, offer better video quality, last longer and contribute to making slimmer panels, it added.

“Consumers can have better-quality products without worrying about high electricity bills due to the innovation in the manufacturing technology,” said a Samsung official.

The company saw record TV sales in the U.S. last year, with its flat-screens taking up 29.8 percent of the market there, up 1.6 percentage point from 2011, according to NPD, a market research company.

It now ranks as the No. 1 maker of flat-screen TVs in the United States, with a market share higher than the combined shares of the second- third- and fourth-largest players. No. 2 Vizio controls 11.7 percent, LG Electronics has 10.2 percent and Sharp 7.1 percent of the market.

It ranks as top dog in the U.S. in LCD, LED and 3-D TVs, and sells almost half of all luxury TVs that retail there for $1,500 or more. Moreover, it controlled 42 percent of the market for 60-inch LCD and LED TVs last year, up 14 percentage points from 2011.
The U.S. TV market is known as a test-bed for new electronics products. To grow their market share by 1 percent, companies need to score about $160 million more sales, which is equivalent to selling an additional 350,000 flat-screen TVs at an average retail price of about $450.

“The size of the market for flat-screen TVs in the U.S. shrank 6.8 percent last year due to the sluggish economy,” said a Samsung official. “The fact that Samsung expanded its market share under such difficult conditions shows how the brand has won over consumers with the high quality of its products.”


By Park Tae-hee [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]

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