In the last couple of weeks, there have been several stories coming out of SE Asia and other parts of the world regarding liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). These stories range from CRT plant closings to flat-panel overcapacity to a strong consumer demand for LCD TVs.
Why just this morning, another piece of news hit the wires as LG.Philips Displays is closing CRT plants in the Netherlands and Germany. The move will result in the loss of 750 jobs, and the company said more plants and jobs are threatened. LG.Philips is blaming an unprecedented decline in demand from TV makers for CRTs for its decision. And, just earlier in the week, Sony Electronics announced that it is shutting down its television picture-tube manufacturing line in Rancho Bernardo, Calif., laying off 400 workers. All of this reduction in CRT production is directly tied to the rise of LCD displays, and the continued unprecedented demand by consumer for flat-panels displays.
Ironically, in many companies' zeal to bring LCD TVs to market, it was also announced this week that the liquid crystal display market is expected to face a greater than 10 percent global panel oversupply throughout the year as major Korean and Taiwanese LCD makers expand capacity. Its' also been reported that global LCD panel demand will reach 30.9 million square-meter glass sheets, exceeding 27.2 million square meters in supply. What this means in a nutshell is that LCD display prices will continue to fall. It also indicates a quicker demise for CRT displays as everyone wants a flat-panel display in their home. Some analysts expect to price parity with plasma in some of the larger screen sizes this year. And, to stay competitive, many suppliers are now opening new fab facilities just to stay competitive, but at what price some say? So, while sales of flat-panel displays remain robust and the forecast bright for these types of displays, price erosion is a serious concern for all of the major players.
Another interesting news item this week relating to LCDs was also reported this week. It now appears that Taiwan will be producing almost one-third or more than 31-percent of all LCD TVs in 2006 over other Asian suppliers. Taiwan will be producing models for themselves (from companies like BenQ, Optoma and Westinghouse Digital), and on behalf of leading Japanese companies such as Sony, Sharp, and Matsushita (Panasonic). The Taiwanese share of the LCD market continues to grow as it's up from a 28-percent share in 2005. Accordingly, the annual global demand for all LCD TVs is expected to reach almost 36.5 million units this year, up a whooping 84.9 percent from 19.72 million units in 2005.
Further, South Korean-based LG.Philips LCD Co. has now displaced Samsung as the world's largest supplier of large-sized thin-film-transistor (TFT) LCD panels, despite a surge by Samsung at the end of 2005. By year-end 2005, LG.Philips had produced 21.4 million panels against Samsung, who had produced 20.9 million panels. Although, it should be noted that the two leading Taiwanese companies -- AU Optronics and Che Mai had produced 26.3 million panels in 2005.
Finally, in a story reported in the NY Times today (January 27, 2006) discussed Sony Electronics resurgence in television business in the U.S., which has helped Sony's bottom-line in 2005 to bring profitability back to its CE business. And, the key display technology that is helping Sony's TV sales is the BRAVIA line of LCD HDTVs, which was only introduced last year. Reportedly, Sony now holds the No. 2 market share position behind Sharp in LCD TVs sales. Ironically, Sony does not produce its own panels in house as it sources its panels from a joint venture with Samsung and also with factories in Taiwan.
So, stay tuned to Digital TV DesignLine for latest news in displays technologies of all types. This is an exciting time for television products as this technology permeates all aspects of our life from the smallest display on your cell phone to the largest wall-hung HDTV. Our goal at Digital TV DesignLine is to uncover all pertinent stories relating to display technologies and related video products.