When Samsung Electronics started the LCD business in 1991, Japanese LCD manufacturing companies had most LCD-related technologies while dominating the display market. The Japanese had a painful memory of the semiconductor business when Korean companies surpassed them. That is why they did not want to follow the same path again. Japanese were very cautious about protecting their LCD technologies, and Samsung had to develop on their own.
In early 1990s, Samsung Electronics had experienced difficulty due to high cost and low manufacturing rate. However, Samsung started to mass produce LCD panels in 1995. After 1997, Samsung produced LCD panels with their own technology and size, creating demand in the LCD market. While Japanese companies reduced investments due to a bad economy, Samsung put more investment to catch up with Japanese competitors. Samsung succeed in 12.1-inch and 14.1-inch display standardization and it became a stepping stone to overcome Japanese technology. In 1998, Samsung beat Japanese in 10-inch and above LCD models in sales numbers. In 2002, Samsung became the No. 1 LCD manufacturer in the world in sales. Since then, Samsung has been No. 1 for 7 years. Samsung now has over 25% of the LCD market in the world with the biggest manufacturing facility and advanced technology.
Samsung started the mass production of new LCD panels for LED TVs to lead the ultra slim TV market. The edge-lit LED back light panel is 1/4 of traditional direct-lit panel in thickness. LED has many advantages over CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp) - no mercury, low electricity consumption, and long life cycle. It also produces more vibrant colors and high contrast ratio. Based on 55 inch LED TV, direct-lit LED BLU panel consumes 240 Watts while edge-lit LED BLU panel only consumes 130 Watts, 35% saving in electricity. The weight is also reduced from 25 kg to 15.5kg, 38% reduction. The new trend in electronics is environmental friendly products. That is reason why LED BLU products expansion is necessary for future market. According to Display Search, display research center, large screen LCD TVs with LED back light will increase from 17.8% in 2009 to 50.2% in 2012.
Following LCD TV market, Samsung is also leading the IT panel market. On June, 2009, Samsung introduced 3.5 mm thick 24-inch monitor panel and 1.64 mm thick 12.1-inch notebook panel. The notebook panel only weighs 120g which is equivalent to two eggs, and expected to improve mobile environment.
Samsung Electronics is also leading the Digital Information Display (DID) market. Advertisement displays are easily seen in department stores, shopping malls, movie theaters, and many more places. Even a few years ago, only paper advertisements were available in movie theaters, but now movie goers can watch advertisement and even movie trailer on DID.
In last few years, LCD panels for TV, monitors, and notebook has expanded tremendously. But now DID is expected to follow their footstep. DID applications have been growing, and it is even used as advertisement on buildings. Samsung just started to mass produce 46-inch ultra slim bezel DID for multi-screen. The bezel lengths are 7.3 mm and 2.6 mm, on right and left side, respectively. So, huge display can be set up like a tile. It has a higher resolution than traditional LED sign boards and also consumes less power.
Samsung Electronics already launched 1,500 ~ 2,000 nit DIDs, whereas most LCD TV has 500 nit brightness. Because it is 3~4 times brighter than LCD TVs, it is suitable as outside displays. When DID is viewable and reliable in outdoor, tens of million products are expected to sell. At SID 2009, Samsung Electronics introduced 41-inch super-wide DID, which can be used in various fields such as subway, train station, or airport.
Samsung Electronics also introduced vending machine with DID with touch screen technology. By touching DID, more information about the product is displayed, and consumer can purchase it when they need it. According to Display Search, display research center, DID market sales will increase from 1.5 million units in 2009 to 7.7 million units in 2015, about 31% annual increase. Especially, DID using LCD panel will increase from 1 million units in 2009 to 6.95 million units in 2015, taking about 90% of DID market.
Samsung Electronics have developed the world’s first 240 Hz LCD panel receiving ‘Gold Award’ in SID 2009. 240 Hz technology produces clear image without ghost effect by using innovative algorithm. Traditional 60 Hz TV has 60 images per second, but by producing 3 artificial images in between each image, Samsung created clearer and crisper 240 Hz LCD panel. In order to send 4 times more images than 60 Hz display, 240 Hz display needs 4 times more recharging and data transfer rate. It was considered as the limit for LCD, but Samsung Electronics overcame the problem with over 20 years of experience in display technology. The other innovative LCD development includes LCD panel using blue phase liquid crystal, and 82-inch LCD with ultra definition (3,840x2,160 resolution), and printable oxide TFT LCD, leading display market.