The flat-panel high-definition television (HDTV) market has clearly taken off, becoming the dominant display technology worldwide. Flat-panel TV shipments have already exceeded those of CRT-based TVs in key markets such as the U.S. and Japan. Accelerated flat-panel TV acceptance is due largely to the affordability enabled by integrated silicon technology and the attractive design of flat- panel TVs. Increased availability of HD programming, particularly in the United States, also contributes to increased consumer acceptance of HDTVs.
Approximately 50 million HDTVs and HD-monitors will ship worldwide in 2008. For now, the majority of the market is in the U.S., with European growth poised to exceed the U.S. market in 2009. Emerging markets such as China and other Asian-Pacific regions are expected to increase shares of Flat Panel Display TVs significantly by 2011.
There are two types of flat-panel display technologies, HDTV and HD-monitors. HDTVs, often referred to as HD-built-in, iDTV, or simply HDTV with digital tuner, contain an integrated digital tuner that receives off-the-air DTV signals. HD-monitors do not have tuners, are not capable of receiving signals, and, therefore, need an external set-top box to view TV programming. Due to the FCC mandate, most flat-panel televisions sold in the United States contain digital tuners.
Unlike CRTs that are big, heavy and consume a lot of power, flat-panel TVs are easier to design, more energy efficient, and allow for simpler manufacturing. All these factors are combining to present new opportunities for traditional TV makers as well as to new entrants to the DTV market. As a result, there are more HDTV manufacturers offering products, presenting opportunities and challenges to component suppliers. Meanwhile, consumers are benefiting from the larger selection of flat-panel TVs at more affordable price points.