Market Insight

[Display Dynamics] CES 2015: Quantum dot TV - Samsung concealed while LG revealed

February 04, 2015

Richard Son Richard Son Principal Analyst, Display Chemical Materials

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Key findings

• At Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015, Samsung Electronics extensively promoted its SUHD TV, a premium liquid crystal display (LCD) TV, while LG Electronics Inc. stressed the excellence of its organic light emitting diode (OLED) TV. 
• Regarding quantum dot applied TVs, a hot keyword of 2014, Samsung Electronics Co. included them under the SUHD TV lineup, and LG Electronics advertised them under the name Color Prime TV, as a product level lower than OLED TV.


Las Vegas is globally known as a city of gambling and entertainment. Yet every January it morphs into a different city drawing attention with the CES. This show is indeed a place where one can get a glance at the technology trends of home appliances as well as the product strategies of each company by looking at the consumer electronics on display. In particular, it is an especially important show to understand the major lineups and marketing strategies of the leading TV makers such as Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, and Sony Corp. In this column, I will be sharing my perceptions on the product strategies of the leading and runner-up companies of the global TV market; two companies that have both recently released quantum dot TVs. 


Samsung concealed quantum dot technology in the name of “SUHD”

Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics each unveiled quantum dot TV products under the name of “SUHD TV” and “Color Prime TV.” I will not elaborate on OLED TV, as it is already widely known to the public. 

SUHD TV of Samsung Electronics is a TV lineup that is applied with quantum dot technology and an image quality algorithm, which is an exclusive technology of Samsung Electronics. Samsung Electronics has mixed quantum dot technology together with high dynamic range (HDR), and image quality engine algorithm under its premium LCD TV lineup, packaging the product as SUHD TV, and throwing down the gauntlet to the market. Thinking from Samsung Electronics’ shoes, it seems that the company is showcasing its newest brainchild with an “S” put in front of the hottest product of ultra high-definition (UHD) TV, after lagging behind in the OLED TV game. Samsung Electronics did not go so far as to explain what the “S” stands for. Whatever it is, the number one company in the TV market probably thought that it was insufficient to copy and paste the quantum dot technology that Sony had already used and released back in 2013, and knowing that the quantum dot TV by Sony fell short of market expectations, Samsung Electronics would not have wanted to use the word “quantum dot” so blatantly. It must have had to find something that had “Samsung Electronics” written all over it in order to release a new product. 


LG Electronics emphasized how OLED TV is a step above quantum dot TV

What is Color Prime TV by LG Electronics? LG Electronics accurately expressed it as a TV applied with quantum dot technology. Furthermore, the company was kind enough to show the TV structure applied with quantum dot technology through its display panel at the CES. Through this demonstration, it was as if they were implicitly saying that quantum dot TV was nothing more than a quantum dot sheet (and a blue LED) added to the existing LCD TV. In short, LG Electronics was implying that there was nothing special to quantum dot TVs, passing it over as if any brand could easily create products with this technology. LG Electronics only displayed two models of the Color Prime lineup– 55-inch and 65-inch. On one hand, the company may have been greatly disappointed or even felt betrayed that Samsung Electronics did not bring “quantum dot technology” to the fore. Because if Samsung Electronics had in fact used the term as part of its marketing strategy, LG Electronics’ OLED TV would have outshined its rival. 


One thing is clear that both OLED and quantum dot TVs have better image quality than existing models

By inventing and marketing a new name, SUHD TV, Samsung Electronics highlighted the fact that enhancing image quality does not depend solely on specific materials or panel technologies. The brand left the concept of image quality, something emotional and subjective, much to consumers’ and put all that in the name SUHD. 
LG Electronics may truly be sorry that its competitor has somewhat pulled out of the OLED TV market. If Samsung Electronics, a company that has re-written the history in TV marketing, had indeed been active in the OLED TV market, it would also have done LG Electronics some good. Whatever the case, LG Electronics is the number one leader in the global OLED TV market. If it succeeds in winning over the OLED TV market and offers competitive prices for consumers, LG Electronics may just be able to gain unparalleled power in the OLED segment this year. 

Studying the two companies’ marketing strategies is one of the joys as an audience in the market. In addition, from the consumer’s perspective, the TV market will be able to grow further with more diversity in TV options. As for the keyword of this year, which is image quality, I do not believe that there is a right answer. It is something that cannot be measured or compared in figures, and even if companies were to find a way of measuring it, it would mean little to consumers who each have their own preferences. Therefore, there is a possibility that the issue will depend on how each product and feature is marketed. 


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