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Where is the LCD market headed?

Posted: 03 Jan 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:lcd? liquid crystal display? tft? thin-film transistor? cathode ray tube?

P. Bala

CEO, FTD Technology Group

The shipment volume for LCDs in global market will continue to increase in the next few years. Going by recent trends, it seems the bulky CRT displays are fast giving way to the sleeker LCDs. Technology enhancements and constant price erosion in the LCD-TFT technology have made them perfect replacements for the bulky CRT displays.

Overall, this is a good year for the LCD manufacturing industry. According to analysts, the global market for LCDs reached $16 billion last year, up 32 percent from $11.5 billion in 2000. The trend is expected to continue.

The volume shipments will ensure that LCD end-user prices drop. However, it may take more years before LCD displays become cheaper or equal in price to the "commodity" CRTs of today and will totally replace CRT-based displays.

LCD displays have become part of a wide range of applications. In the future, they will be part of home appliances such as refrigerators, point-of-sales systems, gaming machines, and other consumer devices.

As for computers, color LCDs will become default displays this year, since their prices will be within affordable price ranges. We will also see the LCD creep into other devices this year. Among them:

?Color LCD displays may enter Pocket PCs, PDAs, and palmtops. This has taken a long time, mainly because of power consumption issues.

?Home entertainment systems should see more color LCDs this year and beyond. Price is still a factor, but expect CRT-based TV displays to be replaced with LCDs, once their prices begin to drop as economies of scales increase with more LCDs being manufactured.

?Currently, digital cameras for consumers are available in the $500 to $800 range with four to five mega pixel resolution, which results in good video quality. Now that this technology barrier has been overcome, LCD manufacturers are free to focus on price reduction, which in turn will fuel volume growth in this sector.

?Also catching up fast are GPS navigators and combined entertainment systems in automobiles. These will have color LCD displays incorporated in them and should see volume growth this year.

?Car manufacturing companies in South Korea, Japan, and the United States are working with telecom operators to offer telemetric services that incorporate infotainment services. These include navigation (Internet browse and search), information gathering (traffic volume and location services), and entertainment (audio/video services).

?By this year, most portable personal entertainment devices will be shipped with color TFTs. Personal entertainment devices that mix and match DVD playback, mobile phone capability, Internet browsing, games, MP3 players, and PDA functions will hit the market this year, and may take off next year.

?Finally, 2.5G or GPRS mobile devices and communicators will start adding color displays. The growth of these devices is still constrained by factors such as lack of adequate handsets and killer applications. Once deployments and acceptance take off, so will LCDs.

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