Driver chips for thin-film-transistor LCDs are already in critically short supply, and will continue to face tight deliveries as unit shipments skyrocket in the next five years, according to a new report by DisplaySearch Inc. released Wednesday.
The 232-page market survey forecasts that TFT-LCD driver ICs will jump more than 10-fold--from 350 million units shipped last year to over 4 billion in 2005. During the same period, unit shipments of passive STN (super-twisted nematic) driver chips are expected to shoot up four-fold, from 800 million last year to over 3.3 billion. Drivers for plasma display panels are predicted to reach 4 million units in 2005.
By contrast, driver chips for thin-film electrolumiscent displays are expected to drop from 2 billion units last year to 1.5 billion in 2005. Vacuuum fluorescent display-driver ICs are predicted to drop from 160 million last year to 75 million in 2005.
DisplaySearch, Austin, Texas, ranked Sharp Corp. as the leading LCD chip driver producer last year, with an estimated 16% global market share. Seiko-Epson and Philips tied for second place, each with a 15% share, followed by NEC with 10%, and Texas Instruments and Hitachi with 9% each. In a breakdown for TFT-LCD drivers, Sharp again was rated first with 23.4% share, followed by TI with 21.5%, NEC at 19.6% and Matsushita with 13%.