Samsung, LG clash again over 8K TV technology

September 17, 2019

 South Korea’s two electronics giant once again clashed over 8K television technology Tuesday in attempt to get an early lead in the premium segment still in a nascent stage.

8K refers to the highest-resolution standard for content creation, which offers four times the number of pixels of a 4K UHD screen and 16 times that of a full HD screen. Having so many pixels means a higher image density, which should deliver a clearer, better defined picture.

While Samsung Electronics Co. is taking a lead in the 8K TV market with its flagship QLED lineup, its smaller rival LG Electronics Inc., which has a competitive edge in OLED TVs, has taken an offensive stance against its display technology.

QLED is a Samsung-specific marketing term for TVs that use quantum dot technology to enhance performance in key picture quality areas, though other manufacturers have also come out with their own quantum-based TVs in recent years.

Unlike most LED TVs, which require an array of lights behind the layer of pixels, each pixel on an OLED generates its own light, meaning that pixels can turn themselves off completely to make the screen totally black. LG says this can lead to superior contrast and energy savings.

LG Electronics said Samsung’s 8K QLED TV is “not real 8K TV” because its color modulation does not fit the standard of the International Committee for Display Metrology (ICDM), a trusted international agency for setting TV quality standards.

“The competitor’s 8K TVs deliver resolutions that hover far below ICDM’s standards,” Nam Ho-jun, head of LG’s Home Entertainment R&D Laboratory, said in a tech briefing. “(Samsung TVs) would mislead consumers who trust 8K TVs and disappoint those who buy the products believing they are the best in the market.”

In a side-by-side comparison with Samsung’s 8K QLED model and LG’s 4K OLED model as well as 8K Nano Cell TV, LG demonstrated how its TVs are better than its competitors in different settings.

LG claimed QLED is just another type of LCD TV with a backlight panel and an additional quantum dot sheet and that its similar name to OLED is creating confusing among consumers.

In response to the mounting offensive, Samsung changed its earlier stance to actively counter LG’s bitter attacks on its TVs.

Samsung said ICDM’s standard for color modulation, which was introduced decades ago, has its own limit in evaluating the latest TV technology.

“8K TV’s quality should be evaluated considering various factors, including brightness, color and signal processing capabilities,” Yong Jason, head of TV R&D Group at Samsung Electronics, said during a technology briefing hours after LG’s event.

Samsung said 8K TVs should not only deliver high-quality images but also seamlessly process various content received via different channels, including online streaming, cable TV and so on.

Rather than focusing on a specific picture quality standard, Samsung highlighted its strong sales figures and expanding partnership in the “8K Association.”

The world’s biggest TV maker is leading the 8K Association aimed at expanding the industry ecosystem and setting standards. It now has 16 members, including TV set makers, panel manufactures, chip suppliers and content providers. LG hasn’t joined the Samsung-led initiative.

“QLED 8K TV is recognized as the most advanced TV, and sales numbers prove it,” another Samsung official said. “In the end, consumer choice matters.”

Samsung’s share in the TV market accounted for 31.5 percent in terms of value in the second quarter, marking the highest in over six years, according to market researcher IHS Markit.

The Korean tech giant’s share was nearly twice that of its smaller home rival LG Electronics Inc. with 16.5 percent. Japan’s Sony took third with 8.8 percent, trailed by China’s TCL with 6.3 percent.

The number of QLED TVs sold in the global market reached 1.2 million in the second quarter, more than doubling from a year earlier, with 1.09 million units by Samsung, the firm said.