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In brief: Samsung and LG's on again, off again negotiations regarding a potential OLED panel supply deal have seemingly resumed. According to a report from The Elec, the Korean electronics giants have resumed talks on the matter. Sources familiar with the matter told the publication the deal involves LG Display initially supplying Samsung with anywhere between 200,000 to 300,000 white OLED (W-OLED) panels.
Samsung Display closed its liquid-crystal display (LCD) business in 2022 and now relies heavily on Chinese suppliers for LCD panels used in many of its TVs. Should the deal materialize in a timely fashion, Samsung could launch televisions using the new panels as early as next year, and use it as leverage to negotiate more favorable deals with other suppliers. The deal would also enable Samsung to diversify its product portfolio at the mid- to high-end range.
As The Elec highlights, coming to terms may be an even higher priority for LG Display than Samsung. That is because the former reported significant losses last year and is on pace for another record quarterly loss in the near future.
South Korean media in early 2021 reported that Samsung and LG Display were close to finalizing a deal but the months ticked by and no progress was made. Then in July 2022, LG Display's CFO said negotiations had come to a halt. A source at the time said the two sides could not come to an agreement on pricing and the deal stalled.
OLED panels are generally reserved for higher-end televisions thanks in part to their superior picture quality compared to LCD panels. LCDs rely on backlighting to produce an image and thus, can't match the precision and levels of contrast afforded by OLEDs which emit their own visible light. Of course, OLEDs are not perfect as they have historically suffered from burn-in issues and are not as bright as some might like. These shortcoming can hamper HDR performance and the overall viewing experience when watching in brightly-lit environments.