Samsung QD-OLED TV production could be hit by internal dispute over pricing

Samsung's QD-OLED panel breakdown.
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung’s QD-OLED TVs could face production delays because of a reported disagreement between two divisions of the company over pricing.

According to reports from The Elec (via What HiFi), the company’s TV panel manufacturing arm, Samsung Display, and the consumer electronics-focused Samsung Electronics can’t agree on the price the latter will pay the former for the new QD-OLED panels.

Negotiations are said to be ongoing, but Samsung Electronics is reportedly hoping to only spend as much on a QD-OLED panel as it would pay on a standard OLED screen from manufacturer LG Display. However, the report claims that Samsung Display is not agreeing to these terms.

If these reports are true, Samsung Display’s reluctance to meet Samsung Electronics' asking price isn't surprising. While we don’t know the exact manufacturing costs of LG’s OLED panels compared to Samsung’s QD-OLED panels, what we do know suggests that the former are much cheaper to produce than the latter, so selling them for the same price would make little business sense.

Analysis: QD-OLED panels won't come cheap

If Samsung Electronics was hoping to pay a price for QD-OLED displays similar to that of, say, LG’s OLED Evo panels – LG’s upgraded OLED screens – that would make more sense. However, that's apparently not the case, as it’s said to be looking to pay around what it would for standard OLED displays.

One reason why QD-OLED panels are more expensive to produce than regular OLED panels is that they require additional components – the new displays are OLED panels that are enhanced by adding QLED layers. 

On top of that, the manufacturing of QD-OLED displays leaves a lot to be desired in terms of efficiency. It's been reported that Samsung Display’s QD-OLED yield rate is just 30%, which means that only three in every 10 panels can actually be used as intended.

That's a far lower rate than LG, which back in 2015 reportedly increased its 4K OLED yield to 65% – and in the roughly seven years since, we expect its production processes have only become more efficient.

By keeping manufacturing costs of its QD-OLEDs down and selling large volumes of more affordable, yet highly-specced TVs, Samsung Electronics might hope to dominate the TV market. However, it won't be able to pursue this strategy if it doesn’t have sufficient numbers of units to ship.

We’ve reached out to Samsung representatives to find out more about the company's QD-OLED plans, and we'll update this article if we receive a response.

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Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.