LG invests $650 million in next-gen OLED factory

Word recently surfaced that LG Display has invested a whopping $650 million in a next-generation OLED manufacturing facility for large panels.

The plant will be located in Paju, South Korea, and could start producing screens for HDTVs by the end of June 2014.

The new manufacturing line that LG is investing in will be capable of churning out 26,000 sheets per month that are large enough to produce six 55-inch screens each. While there is no denying LG is investing in the facility, the large investment has stimulated some industry speculation.

Indeed, LG Display is a major supplier for Apple and rumors continue to swirl that Cupertino will be producing its own HDTV. Previous reports have also indicated that Apple hired an OLED expert from LG Display – hinting that Cupertino is looking to use the technology on some of its products.

We can certainly see LG Display providing high-quality OLED screens for the rumored Apple HDTV. The factory that LG is building will only produce large panels for the HDTV market rather than smaller panels for use in tablets and smartphones. Even Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has hinted that Apple has big plans for the living room, which many have taken as a finger pointed towards the long rumored Apple HDTV.

The ability to produce 55-inch panels in larger quantities could help bring pricing down for TVs that use these panels. Currently, 55-inch OLED TVs are incredibly expensive with LG offering a version starting at $10,000. Frankly, I don’t see many buyers for an Apple HDTV that starts at $10,000, or even half that amount.