LG’s TV focus: The next generation

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LG’s TV focus: The next generation

LG Electronics plans to proceed at full throttle with the development of next-generation TVs, the company said during a press conference yesterday to announce that the first 55-inch OLED TVs will be made available starting Monday in Korea and in the United States in March.

The next-generation TV retails for 11 million won ($10,149) and around a million units have been preordered.

“This year is all about OLED TV,” said Kwon Hee-won, president and CEO of LG Electronics Home Entertainment Company. “As Korea becomes the first market to welcome the arrival of OLED TV, we expect the country to become the test bed for all types of television products from the global companies and a go-to place for the global market players.”

The company plans to introduce 50 TV products this year, including an upgraded version of Cinema 3D Smart TV suitable for watching movies at home.

“In any type of manufacturing industry, from time to time, there comes a change of paradigm in products, just as HDTV advanced to full HDTVs,” said Lee In-kyu, head of LG Electronics’ TV business division.

“The release of a variety of advanced quality flat screen TVs will be a stepping stone for LG to initiate a paradigm change in the TV market so that we can create growth momentum for the next year to become a key player in the global market.”

Along with long-awaited OLED TV and new Ultra HDTV, an advanced version of full HDTV, will also be released in the third quarter of this year in 55- and 65-inch screen sizes.

The company has a goal of selling 15 percent more flat screen TV units than last year, which represented a 10 percent year-on-year increase. The company sold around 30 million flat screen TVs last year, or about 13.4 percent of the global market share, while Sony took 9.8 percent and Sharp 5.8 percent as of fourth quarter last year, according to DisplaySearch.

“Although our goal may look too high to be achieved, such expansion in sales is necessary not to lose our market share in the global market and stay competitive with other fast-growing Chinese companies,” said Kwon. “Also, even though the weak yen does not pose any immediate threat to us as we match overseas demand from overseas manufacturing bases, in the long run Japanese companies could benefit from increased price competitiveness.”

With its flat screen TVs, LG Electronics has focused on screen quality, which the company considers the foundation of the industry, while continuing to push ahead in research and development for smart TV specific contents.

“With the arrival of more advanced televisions with Internet connectivity, it is true that companies have focused on implementing content served through TV,” said Kwon. “However, when you think about the basic function of TV, the high-quality display is a must if consumers are to enjoy their smart TVs content to the fullest.”

Indeed, industry experts believe LG Electronics will increase its competitiveness in the electronics market this year.

“While it had fallen behind other players and positioned rather as a follower in the past, it is taking a leading role with next-generation products,” said Kim Ji-san, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. “While LG’s TV business division dwindled a little bit late last year due to the lack of new releases, the company as a whole can expect to see some rosy sales this year with its lines of new TV products.”

By Lee Sun-min [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]
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