LG moves to keep premium TV crown

LG moves to keep premium TV crown

LG Electronics is going all out to cement the No. 1 spot in the global premium television market this year by launching its flagship TV series earlier than archrival Samsung Electronics.

The leading TV manufacturer Thursday launched the 2017 LG Signature OLED TV, Ultra OLED TV and Super Ultra HD TV series for the domestic market, calling it a “dual premium strategy.”

Usually, South Korean TV makers launch new models in March. But LG has moved more swiftly this year. According to market researcher IHS Markit, the company topped the premium market for TVs priced over $2,500, with about 43 percent market share last year.

“Our goal is to continue leading the market,” said Brian Kwon, vice president of the home and entertainment division at LG Electronics. “Consumers and globally renowned institutions have recognized our OLED technology, which we believe won’t change this year.”

As previously announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, LG is focusing on its flagship organic light-emitting diode and proprietary Nano Cell display technologies for TVs.

While LG is targeting the affluent with its pricey OLED lineup, including the OLED W series, it is also creating a new premium market for liquid-crystal display TVs, which are relatively more affordable, by applying the company’s original Nano Cell technology.

“With the OLED TV series, we aim to provide a totally different experience for customers,” Kwon said. “With the Nano Cell LCD TV series, we hope to represent colors most accurately, being nearly identical to real colors.”

The LG Signature OLED W series, the “wallpaper TV” that is 4 millimeters or less thick, captured global attention as it was awarded the Innovation Award at CES. A 65-inch (165-centimeter) OLED W model will hit shelves here Saturday at a price tag of 14 million won ($12,300)

A total of 10 Signature and Ultra OLED models, equipped with Dolby ATMOS for the first time in the world, will be launched together. Dolby ATMOS is an audio system brand exclusively provided for premium cinema.

Kwon pledged to ramp up sales of OLED TVs by 50 percent beyond last year’s numbers, while boosting the portion of OLED TVs in the company’s total sales to 15 percent. As part of the plan, LG has cut consumer prices of some OLED models by around 500,000 won.

The executive also dismissed recent rumors about contraction in the OLED TV market.

“We have lowered the prices not because the market is expected to shrink, but we are seeing growing demand for OLED TVs,” Kwon said. “This year alone, 11 companies are planning to launch new OLED models, which means the market is definitely growing.”

The Super Ultra HD TV models, which use Nano Cell technology on LG’s flagship IPS display panels, represent colors without distortion for up to 60 degrees in viewing angle. Viewers can enjoy the same colors as seen from the front when they watch the TV from the left or right side, within 120 degrees.

LG’s Nano Cell technology enables 1-nanometer fine particles coated on the LCD panel to absorb light to represent colors. The technology improves the accuracy of color representation by about 50 percent, according to the company.

The Nano Cell TV is expected to compete with Samsung’s quantum-dot TV, known as QLED.

“The competitor’s QLED sounds similar to OLED, but it is still an LCD TV brand,” said an LG official. “The Nano Cell TV will have an absolute competitive edge over the QLED in terms of accuracy of colors.”

A 55-inch (140-centimeter) Nano Cell TV model is priced at between 2.4 million won and 3.6 million won. A 65-inch model is between 4.5 million won and 6.5 million won.


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