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Analyst: AMOLED TV panel shipments to remain low

Posted: 08 Feb 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:AMOLED TV? LCD? TFT backplane? white OLED?

IHS has forecasted that shipments of AMOLED TV panels will remain limited in the coming years, with shipments expected to climb to 1.7 million units in 2015, up from 1,600 in 2013. While the numbers seem large, the jump remains negligible compared to LCD panels being shipped.

"CES featured AMOLED TVs from leading manufacturers such as LG Electronics, Panasonic, Sony and Samsung, generating major excitement at the event," said Vinita Jakhanwal, director for small & medium displays at IHS. "But despite ongoing efforts among these companies to achieve mass production and lower cost via various technology options, it is unlikely that most of the AMOLED TV prototypes announced at CES will be available in the market this year. The limited availability and high pricing of AMOLED TVs will restrict their shipments during the next few years."

The only AMOLED TV likely to ship this year will be LG's 55in flat Full HD model, the 55EM9700.

Staking competing claims to be the first and largest in the world, 56in 4K AMOLED TV prototypes were each shown by Panasonic and Sony at the Las Vegas event. The sets boasted four timeshence, 4Kthe resolution of current 1080p televisions. For the 4K OLED samples, both manufacturers used oxide thin-film-transistor (TFT) backplanes, which present lower manufacturing costs than low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) backplanes.

Panasonic used the printing method on its 4K AMOLED TV, a simpler printing technology, making OLED production adaptable for a wider range of display sizes. In contrast, Sony used evaporation technology to deposit organic material in its top-emitting white OLED structure with a colour filter.

The panel was provided by AUO of Taiwan, which at the show also introduced its own 32in oxide TFT backplane with white OLED structure TV. Sony's emission technology optimises the OLED structure, which helps achieve better light management, enhances colour purity and achieves higher contrast at lower power consumption levels.

Using different technological approaches, Sony and Panasonic were both able to make ultra-high-definition (UHD) 56in displays that reached 79 pixels per inchtwice the density of 55in full high-definition (FHD) displays used in the OLED TVs from LG and Samsung.

For their part, Samsung and LG showed off 55in 3D, FHD sets with AMOLED technology, coinciding with news that LG's FHD TV will be available on the market by Q1. LG's AMOLED TV used oxide TFT backplanes and the white OLED evaporation method, as it did in a prototype presented last year, eliminating the need for fine metal mask technology in OLED production.

Samsung, in contrast, used the LTPS TFT backplane and the RGB OLED evaporation method in its AMOLED TV prototype, similar likewise to what it did last year. Mainly applied in small- and medium-sized displays, sets with LTPS TFT backplanes and RGB OLED evaporation exhibit improved OLED performance, it is generally agreed. But with low yields and high costs, Samsung may find it difficult to launch AMOLED TVs in 2013 using these technologies.

In addition to technical and large-volume manufacturing challenges, OLED TVs also already face an uphill task of competing on prices with lower-priced, higher-resolution 4K LCD and even Full-HD LCD TVs. By the time AMOLED TV production achieves efficiencies in large-scale production, LCD TVs would have had an opportunity to become even more competitive in price and performance.

With still many challenges to be addressed despite many prototypes at CES, consumers are likely to wait a few more years before they buy their AMOLED TVs, IHS added.

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