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16 June 2009


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

As prices of LCD panels that use LED backlights fall in the coming years, their use in televisions is set to explode, predicts market research firm iSuppli Corp.

Global shipments of LCD-TV panels with LED backlighting will rise from just 438,000 units in 2008 to 90 million units in 2013, says the firm. Penetration of LED-backlight technology in LCD-TV panels will grow 13-fold, from 3% in 2009 to 39% in 2013.

Figure: Forecast shipments of LCD-TV panels equipped with LED backlights (2008-2013).

“The price gap between LEDs and the cold-cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) traditionally used for LCD backlighting has narrowed due to the higher yield rate of LEDs, as well as the oversupply that resulted in a drastic price reduction for LEDs in the second half of 2008,” says Sweta Dash, senior director, LCD research. “And with the advent of green technology, power savings and thinner form factors, more branded manufacturers are looking at LED-backlit LCD-TVs in 2009. These factors are spurring brand-name television manufacturers to adopt LED backlighting.”  

Branded TV makers have offered LED-based LCD-TVs for some years now without much success, mostly due to a higher price and larger cost differential between LED and CCFL products, says iSuppli. But there is renewed interest in LED-backlight-based LCD TVs with the use of white LEDs. Instead of focusing only on color gamut, picture quality and high-end RGB solutions, manufacturers are starting to concentrate more on thinner form factors and lower power consumption with the use of side-mounted white LED backlighting.

The lower price differential between CCFL and white LED solutions, combined with the lure of thin TVs, has led to an increasing adoption rate of LED-based TVs, says the market research firm. Branded manufacturers such as Samsung are also focusing on shifting a significant portion of their LCD-TV offerings to LED backlights.

For LCD-TVs, panel suppliers are offering products with 120Hz frame rates with edge-lit LED backlights to achieve thinner form factors, lower power consumption and mercury-free 'green' attributes. In some cases, the use of LED backlights can lead to power savings as high as 30-50%. Thickness and weight savings can also be as high as 30-50%.

Owing much to the ‘green’ initiative in many countries, statutory requirements for lower-power TVs are expected in the next few years, and this may lead to faster adoption of LED backlights. Also, in a consumer survey in the April edition of iSuppli’s US 'TV Consumer Preference Analysis', more than 50% of US consumers take into account the ‘green initiative’ factor when buying TVs.

However, because LEDs also are used for general lighting purposes, there has recently been some concern about LED chip supply. Furthermore, the LED backlight supply chain is still evolving, with varieties of solutions and many different suppliers that need to be involved. Already, panel suppliers are either entering joint-venture partnerships or developing their own in-house LED solutions to streamline the value-chain process, reduce costs and gain better control over the supply, comments the market research firm.

New innovations and higher performance will speed the adoption of LEDs in TVs in the years to come. The price difference for LED versus CCFL TV systems may range from $300 to $700, depending on the size and type of LED used. However, the gap is expected to narrow in the future, and many branded TV manufacturers are planning new LED-based TV models with very aggressive prices in second-half 2009.

Given the current high price gap between CCFL- and LED-based LCD-TV sets and panels, panel suppliers are hoping to reduce the price difference to less than $100 for 40/42-inch panels (compared to more than $150 currently) and to less than $150 for 46-inch panels.

With increasing importance being placed on lower power consumption and green initiatives, more stringent requirements for TVs are expected in the future. LED backlights will enable next-generation TVs to fulfill those requirements, concludes iSuppli.

See related items:

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

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

LED market to grow 2.9% in 2009, aided by LCD-TVs

Search: LCD-TV panels LED TV backlighting