Bang & Olufsen is set to begin designing and manufacturing OLED TVs, but it won’t produce them in-house, as it has enlisted the help of OLED’s biggest fan, LG.
While LG will be producing the TVs, including the manufacturing process and the technology inside, Bang & Olufsen stresses that this arrangement is part of a ‘strategic technology partnership’ between the two companies. That means Bang & Olufsen will continue to bring its famous Danish design flair to the sets.
B&O CEO Tue Mantoni stated in a press release that the partnership would address the company’s “key challenges related to scale and complexity.” While the company expects its first LG-produced OLED TV to be launched in 2017.
According to Reuters, the 90-year-old company is struggling to turn a profit which has led to it abandoning sole ownership of its TVs. The news agency also reports that Bang & Olufsen is actively seeking a buyer, with several potential suitors having already come forward expressing their interest, but not making a firm commitment.
Bang & Olufsen’s moves in the AV industry this year have clearly been in reaction to some in the industry criticising the company’s outdated approach to technology. Many of its products, especially its TVs, have been chastised for being inferior to products from the likes of LG, Samsung and Sony, despite their significant premium – especially when it came to display quality and software.
At ISE 2016 the company finally announced a change in strategy which will see it open up its products to installers and developers. The company’s smart home initiative is going head-to-head with Samsung’s SmartThings integration in its 2016 TVs however, meaning it may have been too little too late.
Bang & Olufsen is working towards profitability however, with the LG deal reportedly worth 150 million crowns (£15m) and 200 million crowns (£21m) in cost-efficiency savings.
It should also improve the quality of Bang & Olufsen’s TVs, with LG’s OLED technology being highly-regarded as one of the best experiences currently on the market. If LG gives Bang & Olufsen the same sort of attention it gives its own sets, such as support for Dolby Vision, then criticism of Bang & Olufsen’s TVs should be a thing of the past.
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