LED TVs to eclipse LCDs: SKorean firms

SUWON: South Korean electronics companies are betting super-thin LED televisions will usurp the slightly fatter competition.

Samsung Electronics Co., the world's biggest seller of LCD TVs, is confident that still slimmer ones backlit by energy-efficient light-emitting diodes - hence the name LED - are on track to become the industry standard.

"We believe the future of the LED TV market will be constantly growing and eventually it will be replacing the current LCD and PDP category," Yoo Mi, senior manager in Samsung's digital media and communications business, said in a recent interview.

LCD stands for liquid crystal display while PDP refers to plasma display panel, currently the two dominant technologies in flat televisions.

Sam Kim, vice president in the TV product planning department at LG Display Co., said in a separate interview in Seoul that LED TVs are technically LCD TVs backlit by LEDs.

LED TVs emit a sharper picture and consume less energy, but are pricier than current LCD TVs. Samsung's Yoo said that on average Samsung's are about $600 to $800 more expensive.

LG Display's Kim said that LED TVs remain expensive because they need a "substantial number of chips inside. All companies, including LG Display, are trying to minimise the number of chips." Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung launched an array of LED TVs in various sizes in March and sold 500,000 during the first 100 days, according to company figures. The company sold nearly 21 million LCD TVs last year.

Market research company DisplaySearch predicts global demand for LCD TVs with LED backlights this year will exceed 3.6 million, but steadily increase to about 64 million in 2012.

LG Electronics Inc. said last month when it launched two new LED LCD televisions that it aims to become the world's second-biggest seller of LCD TVs.

It also predicted that the proportion of LCD TVs using LED technology will grow from 2.6 percent this year to 20 percent next year and expand to 40 percent by 2011.

LG Electronics, which owns a 37.9 percent stake in LG Display, said Wednesday that unit sales of flat panel TVs, especially those with liquid crystal displays, rose 45 percent in the second quarter to a record 4.28 million from the same period last year.

Samsung said Friday that net profit rose 5.2 percent from the same period last year to 2.25 trillion won ($1.81 billion) amid higher sales, including for flat screen TVs.