Samsung, LG compete with premium TVs

Samsung, LG compete with premium TVs
Yoon Boo-Keun.

LAS VEGAS - Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are competing with premium TVs at the 2015 International CES, which opened in Las Vegas on Tuesday (local time). But the two tech giants are jockeying for position in the high-end TV market with different display technologies.

Samsung, the world's largest TV-maker by sales, said it would push for the growth of the SUHD TV, based on liquid crystal display technology, while its local rival LG has been trying to gain traction with organic light-emitting diode TVs.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Yoon Boo-keun, the chief executive of Samsung Electronics' consumer business unit, hinted that the tech giant would focus on ultrahigh-definition TVs, or the more advanced SUHD TVs this year.

"We should look forward instead of looking at what others do, and focus on how we will be able to deliver the most convenient products and services to consumers," he said.

Samsung, which reportedly sold 53 million flat-screen TVs worldwide last year, said it would sell more this year.

"The TV business of Samsung will grow 2-3 per cent in terms of its market share, up from a 1-2 per cent increase last year," he said.

In order for Samsung to offer differentiated value to consumers, he said Samsung would focus on rolling out TVs fitted with superior picture quality and content.

In line with its efforts to develop easy-to-use smart TVs, Samsung would try to keep its operating system Tizen opener and simpler than previous systems.

"The more important thing for TV now is how open it is to be able to communicate with any device," the Samsung CEO said.

Holding a media conference in Vegas on the same day, LG said it would reinforce its OLED business to pry open the door to the OLED TV era.

"LG will solidify its footing in the premium TV market with a range of advanced OLED TVs this year," said Kwon Bong-suk, the chief of LG's home entertainment division.

Having first launched the ultrahigh-definition OLED TV last August, the Seoul-based TV-maker has been trying to nurture the OLED TV market since then.

It invested a total of 700 billion won (S$853 million) last year to build OLED production lines in global markets including Mexico, Brazil, Poland and China.

The company is also pouring resources into establishing partnerships with well-established local retail chains around the world.

On the software front, LG unveiled a new TV platform, the WebOS 2.0, at the CES, which it said boasts a more intuitive and user-friendly experience.

Users can make a list of favourite channels and often-used functions that appears on the screen after turning on the TV. The time it takes to turn on the TV and launch applications has been noticeably shortened, according to LG.

The company said it had sold 5 million smart TVs equipped with the first version of the WebOS platform last year, and would ship 5 million more in the first half of this year.

Market analysts expected that Samsung would be able to gain more market shares in the short term than LG.

"Many market players including Samsung and Chinese TV-makers have jumped on the bandwagon to grow the UHD TV business, which could affect LG's OLED TV business," said Jusy Hong, an analyst from research institute HIS.

"However, Samsung will not only focus on UHD TVs, as it has a mid- and long-term plan for OLED TVs in store."

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