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LCD Makers Under Fire

Europe levies €649 million in fines, mostly against Taiwanese companies. Hundreds of millions more are at stake

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15 December 2010—Taiwanese manufacturers of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels are now under pressure following the European Commission’s announcement last week that five Asian electronics companies would be fined €649 million (US $866 million) for operating a price-fixing cartel that harmed European buyers of television sets, computers, mobile phones, and other products that use the key LCD component.

Korea’s Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest flat-panel maker, received full immunity from fines under the EC’s leniency program, as it was the first to provide information about the cartel to government investigators. The commission accused the six companies of fixing prices on LCD panels between October 2001 and February 2006. The cartel members met around 60 times, mainly in hotels in Taiwan, for what they called "the Crystal meetings."

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Digging Into the New QD-OLED TVs

Formerly rival technologies have come together in Samsung displays

5 min read
Television screen displaying closeup of crystals

Sony's A95K televisions incorporate Samsung's new QD-OLED display technology.

Televisions and computer monitors with QD-OLED displays are now on store shelves. The image quality is—as expected—impressive, with amazing black levels, wide viewing angles, a broad color gamut, and high brightness. The products include:

All these products use display panels manufactured by Samsung but have their own unique display assembly, operating system, and electronics.

I took apart a 55-inch Samsung S95B to learn just how these new displays are put together (destroying it in the process). I found an extremely thin OLED backplane that generates blue light with an equally thin QD color-converting structure that completes the optical stack. I used a UV light source, a microscope, and a spectrometer to learn a lot about how these displays work.

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