[Herald Interview] Samsung confident of better second half in European TV market

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Apr 23, 2017 - 13:33
  • Updated : Apr 25, 2017 - 11:46
LISBON, Portugal -- Despite slowing growth in Europe’s premium TV market in the first half of the year, Samsung Electronics still sees potential for the second half with its latest QLED TV lineup, the regional chief of the South Korean tech giant’s TV business said.

“We have no soccer championship this year, so the first half will be weaker than last year for the whole European market,” Michael Zoeller, head of visual display at Samsung Electronics Europe, said during an interview with The Korea Herald. “But Samsung can be better in the second half,” he said without disclosing numbers.
Michael Zoeller, head of visual display at Samsung Electronics Europe, poses with the QLED TV at Hotel Marriott in Lisbon on Thursday. (Song Su-hyun/The Korea Herald)

Samsung’s confidence comes from the better picture quality of its premium TVs as well as its presentation of premium designs and lifestyles.

Targeting premium consumers, Samsung released QLED TV models featuring its quantum dot technology in around March in European markets. The company is scheduled to launch the Frame TV, a television that looks like a piece of artwork hanging on a wall, by the end of May.

“We want to move TV from technology to lifestyle,” he said. “With the Frame we’ve got a combination of techs and perfect lifestyle. Design might be one of most important things in Europe, so this concept will work extremely well.”

Premium TVs above $1,500 account for more than 20 percent of the European market, according to the Samsung executive. The premium market continues to grow as people start to feel real benefits from new technologies.

Sales of the QLED TVs have just started, but the ramp-up is better compared to last year, said Zoeller, though he declined to reveal exact numbers.

“The reason why people are buying QLED TVs is the full package, not only about picture quality, also very much about the invisible cable and remote control,” Zoeller said. “The lifestyle story seems to resonate very well with consumers.”

He was attending the IFA Global Press Conference held from Thursday to Saturday in the capital of Portugal.

On the ongoing battle between the QLED technology and organic light-emitting diode technology, Zoeller said the dispute about picture quality is “obsolete.”

“Picture quality is foundation. With untrained eyes, it is becoming really difficult to recognize the difference,” he said. “A real deal closure is what nobody else is doing, such as the invisible cable and how much gap is in wall mounting.”

He emphasized the colors and brightness that the QLED TV can provide.

“Every technology has pros and cons but the QLED technology is providing better picture quality in any environment,” he said. “If I watch a low-reflection, really dark movie in a total dark room, maybe I prefer OLED, I am really saying maybe. But even in this environment, with a QLED TV you have much more popping colors, much more brightness, let’s say much stronger pictures.”

Advocates of OLED technology claim that the QLED cannot represent true black due to the backlight that should be kept turned on always to make colors, as opposed to the self-emitting technology. But Zoeller said the black in the QLED is “so strong.”

“The black color you have in the QLED is so strong, which is about a hundred times better than what it used to be in the LCD technology,” he added. “Plus the reflection is so much lowered compared to OLED.”

The OLED’s display of complete darkness may be better, but that does not mean the differences between the black levels can be displayed better, he said.

“The shades you can create within the black are not as good as you can create with QLED,” he added.

By Song Su-hyun (