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Industry Report

Industry reports, briefs issued by Samsung Economic Research Institute

Display Devices Expand Their Boundaries

Display Devices Expand Their Boundaries

LEE Chi-Ho

Apr. 19, 2010

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The display industry has grown dramatically, with liquid crystal display (LCD) and plasma display panel (PDP) products, together having replaced demand for their cathode ray tube (CRT) predecessors, boasting larger screen sizes and reaching ever higher performance levels. By providing a more modern substitute to the CRT TV, the flat-panel TV industry posted average growth of 72% from 2003 to 2009. More specifically, the LCD monitor industry averaged 58% in growth from 2000 to 2007. The high level of growth was attributable to increasing screen sizes and performance, in turn made possible by continuous technological innovations in production facilities or fabs.

In 2012, demand for CRT TVs is expected to fall below 10% of the demand for flat-panel TVs, while demand for CRT monitors disappeared in 2009. However, as demand for CRT display devices winds down, the factors that promoted the decline are also weakening. With the penetration rates of TVs and PCs in advanced markets (e.g., North America, Western Europe and Japan) in 2009 rising to more than 70% and 50%, respectively, the rise in demand for display devices is forecast to slow.1

The trend in producing larger displays has slowed, ending with TVs within the 30-40 inch range. This is because consumers choose TV screen sizes according to the size of their living spaces. Furthermore, paralleling the decrease in the production of larger screen sizes was a continuous drop in prices, contributing to the current decline of the display device industry. Indeed, the value of the TV and monitor market has been falling since reaching peaks in 2006 and 2008, respectively.

Although next generation technologies capable of reversing this downward trend are desperately needed, currently they are not adequate. For instance, producers of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, the most promising technology in the industry, must quickly improve their production yields to enable larger screen sizes and resolve issues surrounding cuts in material costs.

To overcome the limitations of a current growth strategy based on functions, the industry has been changing its development course toward a greater focus on user applications. Efforts are being made to 1) increase user convenience via larger interfaces and 2) create more realistic displays. For example, users can now control devices more easily with touchscreen interfaces, while 3D displays provide users with a more realistic experience.

Also, the industry is expanding its boundaries by diversifying into other areas where displays can be used. Outdoor digital advertisement signs are replacing their analogue counterparts, while e-books are challenging paper-based reading material. Furthermore, new markets for displays are being created via the incorporation of network-inclusive IT solutions into non-display products (e.g., electronic tables and vending machines).

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