Samsung SDI plans increase in OLED production

Samsung SDI plans to expand production of OLED (organic light emitting diode) display panels this year, it said Monday.

The company, in which Samsung Electronics holds a 20 percent stake, will invest 551.8 billion won (US$528 million) to increase production between now and June next year, it said in a regulatory filing with the Korea Stock Exchange.

OLED is an emerging flat-panel display technology that uses an organic material in the pixels that emits its own light, so a backlight isn't needed. That helps make the displays thinner and much less power-hungry. OLED screens also handle fast-moving images better and offer richer color reproduction than current LCDs (liquid crystal displays) and PDPs (plasma display panels).

The screens are already used for some cell phones and other portable gadgets, like MP3 players, that need small screens. Screen makers are trying to extend the technology to larger screens suitable for television sets but they remain difficult to produce.

Last year Sony became the first company to put on sale a commercial OLED-based television. It's XEL-1 has an 11-inch screen and has been selling well in Japan, where it hit the shelves in December. Earlier this year Sony CEO Howard Stringer indicated Sony will launch a 27-inch OLED TV within the year and last week a Japanese newspaper said Panasonic is working on a 37-inch OLED TV. Panasonic confirmed it is working on OLED technology but declined to confirm the report.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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