LCD TV manufacturers push older tech for emerging markets

Although LCD TV panel manufacturers are working on high-spec technology such as 3D, 480 Hz frame rate, ultra-slim form factors, and direct-lit LED backlights, they are also going backwards to appeal to emerging markets.

According to DisplaySearch, manufacturers are building lower-cost panel designs with lower brightness in a bid to appeal to emerging markets such as India, Brazil, China, and Russia with lower specifications than for developed markets.

The analyst company explained that brightness can be in the range of 350-400 nits, versus the 450-500 nits standard, and colour saturation can be 65-68 percent versus the 72-75 percent that developing countries tend to demand. The LCD TVs are therefore lower priced, in a bid to raise demand in emerging markets.

“Because of the variation in consumer preferences among developed and emerging regions in 2011, it will be more important to target the right market segments and regions with the right specifications and appropriate cost, instead of simply adding new features to product roadmaps,” said Shawn Lee, senior analyst for DisplaySearch.

He pointed out that panel manufacturers such as LG , AUO, Chimei Innolux and BOE are all investing in the emerging TV market segment.

Lower specifications are achieved through restructuring LCD backlights by swapping prism films with diffusers, using larger LED packages for better efficiency, reducing LED light bars and packages. Manufacturers will also minimise glass substrate thickness from 0.7 mm to 0.5 mm, and modifying the colour filter structure.

In terms of high specification designs, DisplaySearch says that Sharp, the only company with a Gen 10 fab, is planning to produce 6-up 70”W panels, while AUO is working on a 58”, 21:9 aspect ratio, 120 Hz panel called Cinema Scope HD. This is targeted at 3D, home cinema, and smart TV markets.

LG Display and Samsung are also working on 21:9 LCD TV panels and Samsung is also producing 43” 4:1 panels for public displays in its Gen 7 fab. The company has developed a new LCD cell structure called PLS, which combines the horizontal and vertical electric fields and has “impressive” off-axis image quality.

Other panel makers are focusing on the shutter glass approach with Chimei Innolux developing a 120 Hz product for 3D TV.