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18 June 2009


Large-area LED-backlit LCD panel shipments pass 10m units in Q1, reaching 12% penetration

LED backlights are growing rapidly in large-area (10”+) thin-film transistor (TFT) LCD displays, with LED-backlit panels reaching 10.6 million units in first-quarter 2009, up 63% on the prior quarter and 780% year-on-year, reckons market research firm DisplaySearch in its ‘Quarterly LED Backlight Panel Shipment & Forecast Report' (see Table 1 for top five LED-backlit LCD panel makers in Q1/09).

Currently, portable computers are the leading application for LED backlights, with 4.2 million LED-backlit panels shipped for mini-note (netbook) PCs (100% LED penetration) and 5.9 million for notebook PCs (26% penetration) in Q1/09. All mini-note PCs used wedge-type LED backlight design, but it is expected that slim-type backlights will be used starting in Q2/09. In Q1, 76% of notebook LED-backlit panels used wedge-type light guide plates. HannStar led in shipments of LED-backlit panels for mini-note PCs, while LG Display was the leading supplier of LED-backlit panels for notebook PCs.

In Q1/09, shipments of LED-backlit panels for desktop monitors were only 0.1 million (less than 0.5% of LCD monitor panels shipped). The value of LED backlights for LCD monitors is still not clear to end users, so adoption is limited. Shipments of LED-backlit LCD panels for TVs were 0.4 million, mainly for 40”, 46” and 55” screens as Samsung launched side-lit LED TV models.

According to the shipment plans of large-area TFT LCD makers, LED-backlit panel shipments are expected to total 104.5 million units in 2009 as penetration increases from 12% in Q1 to 25% in Q4.

In 2009, mini-note panels will remain 100% LED, and the LED backlight supply chain and panel suppliers are focused on increasing penetration in other applications. LED backlights will exceed cold-cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) backlights in notebook LCD panels in Q3/09, reaching 53% penetration. LCD TV panel makers are planning to ship 4.3 million panels with LED backlights in 2009 (68% side-light type and 32% direct). Table 2 shows the forecast market shares of the top five LED backlight panel makers by application.

“The driving factors for the fast growth of LED backlights are slim and lightweight form factor, lower power consumption, market differentiation, dimming backlight capability, wide color gamut, and the trend towards 'green' displays,” says David Hsieh, VP of DisplaySearch. “However, there are many challenges in LED backlight design, components availability and cost, and panel makers are working closely with LED backlight supply chain participants to increase shipments,” he adds.

“The growing LED penetration in TFT LCD will raise new issues such as LED cost management, LED chip availability, and changes in backlight structure,” Hsieh says. “As LED production shares the same capacity with the lighting market and many LED companies are evaluating the strategy for backlights, the market has some concerns over LED availability. We believe LED supply chain management will be a key success factor for panel makers and will reshuffle the competition landscape from now to 2010,” he concludes.

See related items:

Penetration of LED-backlit LCD-TVs to grow 13-fold by 2013

Backlighting demand produces 'flood of orders' for Taiwan's LED chip makers

LED-backlit notebook PC shipments grow 62% in Q4/2008

Search: LED backlighting