Monday, March 30, 2009

The Significance of Korea's New LED Displays

As outlined in a Korea Times story yesterday, Samsung Electronics has launched its new series of LED displays in the Korean market.  They are now available in all major world markets.  Coincidentally, my wife and I purchased a 52 inch Samsung LCD television about a month ago, and have been enjoying it immensely.  We have no buyer's remorse since we purchased the HD TV-ready, top-of-the-line set at a competitive price and will be able to enjoy it for years.  A new LED model would have cost about $1,000 more (we paid about $2,200 for ours).  However, the new LED models are thinner....much thinner, lighter and are also 40 percent more energy efficient, while rendering colors slightly better than our new television set.  This morning, just before coming in to work, I watched live coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational from Florida as Tiger Woods sunk a long putt on the final hole to win.  Watching it on the 52" LCD television was so much more fun than on our old, smaller CRT television.
As readers of this blog will know, I'm currently doing my own research on the information and communication revolution in Korea.  In the broad context of this nation's efforts to build an information society, what is the significance of LED televisions and the display industry more generally?   I suggest the following for starters.

  • The display industry is a core or "anchor" technology of the information age.  This will continue into the future as sight and visual images are such a major component of human communication.  The closer the actual image on a display is to real human vision, the more realistic the viewing experience will be.
  • Korea's growing strength in the semiconductor industry complements its work with displays.  In fact, the manufacturing process for displays is very similar to that for semiconductors.
  • By introducing the LED line of televisions now, Korea's companies will have a big edge over their competitors when the global market for these devices reaches economies of scale.  There are as yet no major Japanese, North American or European competitors in the display market.
  • From the standpoint of ordinary consumers around the globe, there is no doubt that once the price reaches an acceptably low level, many will trade in their "old" LCD television sets for a newer, lighter, greener and more "fun to view" set.
In short, South Korea's leadership in the display industry is integral to its overall development as a global ICT leader.

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