Electronics Production | June 08, 2006
New Display Technologies Unlikely<br>to Dethrone LCDs, iSuppli's Semenza Says
The increasing dominance of LCDs is limiting opportunities for emerging technologies in the display industry, although there remains plenty of room for innovation in materials and components, according to Paul Semenza, vice president, displays, for iSuppli Corp.
Speaking here yesterday at the Society for Information Display (SID) 2006 event in San Francisco, Semenza said TFT-LCD technology will grow more pervasive in display applications in the coming years due to factors including its established manufacturing infrastructure and the rise of flat-panel television. "We simply don't see anything on the horizon that will challenge the LCD," Semenza said. "The gestation period for new display technologies is measured in decades, not years, so the LCD's dominance will continue for some time." Semenza cited iSuppli research that predicts LCDs will represent two thirds of the global LCD market by 2007, up from half in 2003. LCD growth is expected to benefit from the rise of flat-panel television more than other display technologies will. While revenue for other flat-panel technologies, such as plasma and Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs), will rise as well, this growth will not enough to derail LCD's advance. "The long-term trend is clear: LCD is the only display technology that spans from the largest 100-inch displays for televisions to the smallest screens on mobile phones," Semenza said. "With the vast economy of scale and investments in LCD manufacturing, it's creating a difficult environment for other display technologies." Television will boost prospects for LCD panel makers more than the PC because TVs use larger displays and ship in higher volumes than computers. Televisions will use nearly 80 million square meters of LCD panels in 2010, rising at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 39 percent from more than 30 million in 2006. By 2009, LCDs will surpass CRTs as the dominant type of display used in television, Semenza predicted. The most lucrative opportunity for innovation in displays resides in providing components and materials that make LCDs better, Semenza said. LEDs, OLEDs, lasers and other emerging technologies can provide a superior alternative to conventional Cold-Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFLs) now used for LCD backlighting. Other innovations, such as new films and filters, emissive materials-or any technology that improves efficiency or cuts costs-will find strong market acceptance, Semenza said. "Current LCD technologies are costly and inefficient. New materials and components represent a big opportunity," he noted. Other insights provided by Semenza include: * Although plasma revenue is growing, this expansion is being slowed by severe price erosion. Competition from 40-inch LCDs is driving down pricing at this size, impacting plasma revenue growth. While plasma panel shipments will rise to more than 21.7 million units in 2010, up from 10 million in 2006, revenue growth will be weaker, increasing to $9.8 billion, up from $7.7 billion during same period. * Advances in manufacturing and other areas are helping the OLED market to expand. However, future opportunities for OLEDs are likely to found in areas where LCDs do not compete, such as flexible displays and backlights. The OLED market will expand to $3.5 billion in 2012, up from less than $500 million in 2004, iSuppli predicts. * Signage and other very large displays are increasing their demand for TFT-LCDs at a rapid rate-but will not account for a large portion of TFT-LCD panel square meters, at least through 2010.
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