Chinese TV manufacturer TCL surprised the global electronics industry by introducing the world’s biggest 110 inch curved UHD TV at IFA 2014, the electronics exposition currently being held in Berlin, Germany. The largest screens of Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are only 105 inches, so this Chinese company beat them to 110 inches.
Chinese companies TCL and Hisense also revealed quantum dot TVs at this IFA exhibition, which are considered to be the next generation of TV technology with its remarkably higher definition than current TVs, putting them even further ahead of Korean companies.
TCL earned two titles of “World’s Biggest” and “World’s First” through its 110 inch UHD TV and quantum dot TV introduced at this IFA. Chinese companies, which previously have been following the market leaders and manufacturing budget products so far, are showing the technological capability to potentially dominate the global market.
Quantum dots, which emit light when excited by electricity, replace light emitting diodes (LEDs) in these new TVs. Quantum dot TVs are much clearer and lighter than the current liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs, and production costs are lower than organic light emitting diode (OLED) TVs. This is why TV manufacturers are focusing on the commercialization of quantum dot TVs.
The market understands that TCL introduced its quantum dot TVs at IFA before officially launching them in the market, not with the purpose of showing off its technological capabilities in this situation. A TCL employee said, “We plan to release a 55 inch quantum dot TV at the price of around 2,000 euros [US$2,585] next year.” The price is similar to a same-sized UHD TV. Another Chinese TV company Hisense introduced a quantum dot TV as well under the name “ULED TV.”
This preemptive attack by TCL was totally unexpected in the market, as Samsung and LG which are considered to have the best TV technologies in the world were assumed to be releasing quantum dot TVs first. Samsung and LG, the world’s number one and two, did not. A Samsung Electronics representative claimed, “We possess the technologies for quantum dot TVs, but it is too early to introduce in public.” In fact, Korean companies are very cautious to introduce advanced products at major expositions recently, as they are worried about technology spill to Chinese companies.
However, employees of Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics visited the booths of Chinese companies to compare display definitions and to take pictures of their products. A high-ranking official in the Korean electronics market said, “Only two years ago, technological skills of Chinese companies were almost a year behind the global market leaders. This gap was narrowed down to six months last year. But looking at IFA this year, I see no differences anymore.”
So far in terms of definition and materials, the global TV market has been led by Samsung and LG of Korea and Sony of Japan. Sony was the first to ignite the definition competition by introducing the world’s first UHD TV. Samsung and LG are dominating the UHD TV market. Samsung and LG are number one and two, respectively, in market share in the global TV industry.