Mapping the mismatch in the LCD TV supply chain

November 15, 2012 – The LCD TV panel sector closes 2012 with continued tightness due to new process technologies, capacity conversions, a strong market in China, and growing panel sizes. A number of new sizes (39, 50, 58, 60, and 65-in.) enjoyed success and some broke into the mainstream with wide adoption and volume growth.

Looking ahead to 2013, a number of established LCD panel sizes (26, 32, 37, 40-42, 46-47, and 55-in.) will give way to new sizes as TV brands adjust their product mix, calculates NPD DisplaySearch. In a new report, the analyst firm looks at everyone’s 2013 LCD TV panel product mix, and found some big differences between what suppliers offer and what buyers want:

2013 plans for LCD TV set and panel size mix. (Source:
NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly LCD TV Value Chain Report)

While panel makers want to maximize the efficiency of each fab-generation panel size, TV brands are focused on maximizing their market share and revenue. "As panel makers aggressively expand into new sizes, the mismatch is growing more serious," notes Deborah Yang, research director for monitor & TV at DisplaySearch. When the market tightens and push comes to shove, "the push from panel makers is usually stronger than the pull from LCD TV brands," she writes, and "many LCD TV brands will have to adjust their product mixes accordingly.

Here’s her rundown of factors driving that push-pull and how it’ll shake out:

  • Get bigger faster: Panel makers eager to maintain high capacity utilizations (and thus value) have been racing to adopt larger sizes than the TV brands, especially for the biggest sizes (46-60-in. and above).
  • Make bigger cheaper: The very low priced 60-in. set "has changed the ecosystem," Yang writes. Some Chinese TV brands have introduced 58-in. sets to compete with it, while Korea’s Samsung and LG Display are churning out more 60-in. product to compete with Sharp and Vizio. Gen-8 panels are not optimized for that particular size, though, so panel makers are moving to "multi-model glass" from which they can make 60-in and 32-in panels on the same substrate.
  • A shift in smaller panels: Almost everyone (Taiwan, Japan, Korea suppliers) plan to reduce their 32-in. production, which will open the door for Chinese panel makers to grab design wins with international brands.
  • Give a little extra:Most TV brands selling 46/47-in. panels (Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio, LG Electronics, and Chinese brands), anticipating a replacement cycle to bigger 50-in. panels, are now adding 50-in. panels.
  • Plug a midsize shortage: A lack of Gen 7 capacity, especially in China, is creating a shortage of 40/42-in. panels. AUO, LG Display, and Chi-Mei Innolux are planning to ramp up 42-in. production in their Gen-8 lines.
  • Move on up: Samsung can add every new size to its product line; Toshiba recently shifted from current mainstream sizes (40, 46, and 55-in.) to new sizes (39, 50, and 58-in.). Sony is considering 42-in. and 39-in. to avoid concentrating too much on 40-in. TV brands in China are coping with a complicated Chinese TV market in which Chinese consumers tend to prefer new products.

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