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FPD market overview and outlook

Posted: 29 Jan 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:fpd? flat panel? crt? cathode ray tube? semicon?

In the combined market of FPDs (flat-panel display) and CRTs (cathode-ray tube), the former started overtaking the latter market with 53 percent of share in 2002, said Satoshi (Sam) Matsuno, SVP of DisplaySearch, in the FPD market seminar held during SEMICON Korea 2003. The FPD share is expected to increase by 70 percent come 2006.

Matsuno forecasts that in the short-term, the drivers for FPD growth will be the rapid adoption of sub-display for cellphones, emerging FPD TV receiver market, and automobile and desktop market, while the mid- to long-term drivers will be the monitor market with FPDs migrating to larger sizes, penetrating various applications.

The TFT-LCD shift

Only a few TFT-LCD makers have been making profits since Q4 of 2002. In this regard, there is a question now whether the profit and loss statement in 2003 will be similar to that of 2001. Production is expected to shift to more profitable areas. For example, fifth generation (5G) fabs are expected to pursue 17-inch production and the 3.5G fabs are seen to divert its 15-inch production from monitors to notebook PCs.

Notebook PC market

The notebook PC market is expected to grow at 15 percent CAGR. The market share of 15-inch and larger sizes will increase gradually. Higher resolution is the major differentiator, causing average resolutions to exceed SXGA+ in 2005 and reach UXGA in 2006. Wide format will also become a differentiator and grow to over 70 percent within the >15-inch market.

LCD monitor demand forecast is that 17-inch size will overtake 15-inch in 2004. The main panel is expected to shift from 15-inch XGA to 17-inch SXGA in early 2004. Further, the LCD monitor market is forecasted to continue to grow rapidly at 37 percent CAGR. The LCD penetration is also seen to grow from 28 percent in 2002 to 77 percent in 2006. On top of this, the market in China may add more demand.

FPD TV market

The LCD TV receiver market is projected to grow 12 folds by 2006 at 88 percent CAGR, while PDP TV receiver market is expected to increase sharply at 106 percent CAGR. LCD will maintain its cost advantage at least in 32-inch class. Price and performance improvements will determine the LCD against PDP share. Additionally, the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympic Games are expected to trigger demand for large-area FPD TV receivers in China. Push-style sales will continue.

LTPS, OLED status quo

Meanwhile, the consolidated market for LTPS and OLED (organic light emitting display) is expected to grow at 63 percent CAGR with LTPS taking majority share. Their primary application areas are personal information products, mobile phones, digital still cameras, PDAs, and the like. The LTPS and OLED are projected to have 9 percent and 3 percent technology share respectively, in total FPD revenues in 2006.

Small and medium panel applications including cameras, cellphones and PDAs have premium position with premium prices. The conversion from a-Si (amorphous silicon) TFT to LTPS (low-temperature polysilicon) is also becoming popular among new entrants.

Large-area LTPS panel applications mainly focus on notebook PCs. While its effort is concentrated on penetrating the monitor market, there are currently few prototypes for TV receiver applications. Investments are also being made for large substrates (including 730mm-by- 920mm systems).

Among the strong points of OLED technology - whose low cost, low power consumption, wide viewing angle, and potential for flexible substrates is drawing much attention - the adoption of PMOLED (passive matrix OLED) is taking off in automotive and sub-displays for mobile phones with multi-color capability, likewise applications leading to AMOLED (active matrix OLED) is starting. The AMOLED is tracking the same application paths as LTPS. But there are still many cost and technology issues to be resolved.

In DisplaySearch's third annual OLED Technology Report, DisplaySearch VP Barry Young projected that the OLED market will quickly grow to reach $3 billion by 2007. Major application areas will include mobile phones, mobile-phone sub-displays, PDAs, digital cameras, and camcorders.

Though large-area OLED panel applications are gathering significant attention with their prototypes, it should go a long way before mass production.

AMOLED is likely to take off only after 2005, due to its high dependency on material development and lack of panel makers with proven mass production capabilities for LTPS.

Additionally, trade-off issues regarding lifetime, brightness, and power consumption is making it difficult for AMOLED to meet the specified requirements.

Winner takes all

In conclusion, those who maximize scale merit will survive in the FPD war regardless of technologies. Consolidation will reduce the effective numbers of manufacturers. To remain or become main players in FPD industry, designers should never miss large-area applications. In other words, no investment means no future.

"It will become one long battle. Despite the increased investment, the industry is still losing money. But in the end, the company who makes such an effort will monopolize the market and, eventually, win the battle," commented Matsuno.

Park, Dong-Wook

Electronic Engineering Times - Asia

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