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LCD TV panel makers push LED into backlight

Posted: 06 Sep 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LED? backlights? LCD? TV? panel?

LCD TV panel manufacturers are developing their supply chains to reduce the cost of LED-backlit panels as the transition to LED backlights continues, according to market analyst DisplaySearch.

They report that 9.5 million of the LCD TV panels that shipped in Q2 10 had LED backlights, or 18.5 percent. This represent an110 percent growth q-on-q, as LCD TV panel makers aim for 40 percent LED penetration in Q4 10, and >50 percent in Q2 11.

Penetration is highest among leading LCD TV panel makers, including Samsung, LG Display, AUO, Sharp, and Chimei Innolux. Notably, Samsung and Sharp aim to ship more LED LCD TVs than CCFL panels in Q4 2010. Among these players, Sharp is the only one focusing on direct-type LED backlights, as opposed to the more common edge-lit structure.

"LCD TV panel prices fell quickly in Q3 2010 due to oversupply and inventory adjustments downstream. However, LED panel prices are falling even faster than CCFL." noted David Hsieh, large-area LCD research team leader and VP of the greater China market, DisplaySearch. He added, "Panel makers are expecting to grow their shipments through the end of the year as LED panel prices and end-market retailer prices of LED LCD TVs fall rapidly."

After the tight supply in Q2 2010, the LED backlight supply chain ramped up to meet panel makers' production schedules. Furthermore, panel makers are investing vast resources to develop lower cost LED backlights with enhanced performance. Some of the technology development efforts include "single-sided two light bars" edge-lit LED backlights, the use of alternative optical films for higher brightness and lower cost, as well as enlargement of LED chip packages for better luminous efficiency. These technologies will pave the way for another wave of LED penetration.

In Q2 2010, the leading size of LED TV panel shipments was 40in, with a 23 percent share among all LED LCD TV panels shipped. This was followed by 32in with 21 percent share, 46in with 15 percent, and 42in with 11 percent. Shipments of 37in LED panels grew 642 percent from Q1 2010 to Q2 2010. In terms of LED panel manufacturing, Samsung and Sharp each shipped 2.8 million LED LCD TV panels in Q2 2010, with 29 percent market share each. LG Display followed slightly behind with 2.4 million units and a 25 percent share, while AUO shipped 1.2 million units with 13 percent share. As a result, the leading four companies accounted for 96 percent of the total shipment of LCD TV panels with LED backlights.

DisplaySearch also found that many system integrators or brands that have their own LCD module assemblies are also buying LCD cells from panel makers such as Chimei Innolux and AUO, and then assembling the LED backlight with their own design. The backlight, module, and system integration business models of leading manufacturers are helping to drive rapid LED penetration.

In desktop monitor and notebook PC panels, LED penetration for desktop monitor panels shipped in Q2 2010 was 13.1 percent, and panel makers have set targets to exceed 30 percent by the end of the year. LG Display, AUO, and Chimei Innolux are leading in LED monitor panel shipments. In terms of notebook PCs, LED penetration soared to 92 percent in Q2 2010.

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