Industry News September/October 2014 Issue 5

Samsung Confirms It Is Out of the Plasma Panel TV Business

This past summer, numerous news sources began reporting that Samsung was discontinuing its plasma panel business.  Shortly after these unsubstantiated reports, Samsung Electronics Corp. issued this statement by way of confirmation:

“We plan to continue our PDP TV business until the end of this year, due to changes in market demands.  We remain committed to providing consumers with products that meet their needs and will increase our focus on growth opportunities in UHD TVs and curved TVs.”

Earlier this year, Panasonic pulled out of the plasma business.  As a result, the last big player making plasma TVs is LG Electronics, and reporters and analysts are taking bets as to how long that will be the case.  In the meantime, there are some enticing deals on hundreds of models of plasma TVs via retailers such as Amazon.

Tianma Acquires Full Ownership in Multiple Fab Lines

In a move to strengthen its position as a leading supplier in the LCD marketplace, Tianma Microelectronics Co., Ltd., Shenzhen, China, has completed the acquisition of its five production lines in Japan, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Wuhan and increased its investment in its Chengdu facility.

After this restructuring, Tianma will own 100% shares of Shanghai Tianma, Wuhan Tianma, Shanghai AVIC, and Shenzhen AVIC (two lines) and 70% shares of Chengdu Tianma.  Prior to this, Tianma Microelectronics Co., Ltd., held controlling interests in the six lines.  As a result of the stock acquisitions, the combined assets of the company are expected to surpass RMB 10 billion (US $1.6 billion).

According to Tianma, this consolidation of the company’s fabrication line assets will optimize product planning and production, increase efficiency, and create more flexibility in customer support, including faster response times and time to market.  A major part of Tianma Microelectronics’s strategy is to strengthen its position as a tier-one supplier to the American marketplace.

Meko Acquires Insight Media Publishing Operations

Insight Media, publisher of the Display Central news portal, recently announced that it will sell its publishing and advertising operation to Meko, a UK-based news and market research consultancy that has covered the display industry for many years.  According to Insight Media, operation of the Display Central news portal, Display Central marketing and promotional programs, the Display Daily email news service, as well as subscription newsletters Large Display Report and Mobile Display Report, will continue with little substantive changes.

Noted Insight Media President and Founder, Chris Chinnock: “I will continue to be involved with the publishing operation as a Display Daily contributor and sales agent, but much of my focus will now turn toward supporting clients in specific strategic and tactical projects.”  The Insight Media team of analysts will remain intact to support these other services.

“One of the key reasons this acquisition was appealing to us was the great reputation that the Insight Media team has in the industry for uncovering and analyzing new and exciting technology – a capability we fully intend to continue,” said Bob Raikes, Managing Director at Meko.  (Raikes is a frequent contributor to Information Display and has an article on monitors in this issue.)  “This is an exciting opportunity for Meko to expand its coverage areas and Web presence and an area we will be investing in going forward.”

The deal was made final on July 31, 2014, and a management transition is fully under way.  •

LG Display Unrolls 18-in. Flexible and Transparent OLED Panels

LG Display recently announced that it has developed an 18-in. flexible rollable OLED panel and an 18-in. transparent OLED panel.  Both panels are prototypes.

The flexible OLED panel has a high-definition resolution of 1200 × 810 with almost 1 million pixels.  The panel’s curvature radius is 30R.  It can be rolled up to a radius of 3 cm without affecting the function of the display (Fig. 1).  LG says that these developments will lead to rollable TVs of more than 50 in. being offered to the market in the not-too-distant future.

LG’s rollable, flexible OLED prototype is the foundation for rollable TVs of the future, according to LG Display.

To enable the flexibility, LG used high-molecular substance-based polyimide film as the backplane of the flexible panel instead of conventional plastic.  The polyimide film also helped reduce the thickness of the panel to improve its flexibility.

The transparent OLED panel has 30% transmittance, which was achieved by adopting the company’s transparent pixel design technology.  LG claims that this is triple the transmittance of existing see-through LCDs.