DisplaySearch: Shortages Loom As LED Grows - Twice

DisplaySearch: Shortages Loom As LED Grows

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Santa Clara, Calif. - Sales of LED-backlit TFT LCDs will surpass those of CCFL-backlit versions and achieve an 80 percent market share by the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the latest DisplaySearch Quarterly LED Backlight Report.

DisplaySearch said the rapid growth of the technology can be attributed to slimmer designs, lower power consumption and superior performance than the previous CCFL standard.

However, DisplaySearch warned that the increased demand will put increased strain on supplies of critical components for LED production, namely optical polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) used in light guide plates, white polyester (PET) for reflector film, and sapphire for LED wafer substrates.

This could lead to significant panel shortages.

LCD makers have been suffering from key component shortages related to LED backlights in Q1 2010, DisplaySearch said. The PMMA shortages have limited production of TV light guide plates. Many reflector film suppliers were stretched between demand from LCD and solar cell applications, and many LED makers faced a sapphire substrate shortage.

"Many LCD makers didn't recognize the limited capacities of key material suppliers before fixing their LED TV panel shipment targets. In particular, PMMA and PET are in significant shortage. PMMA and PET suppliers are slowly expanding capacity since they need time to add new plants and face financial limitations," said Kevin Kwak, DisplaySearch research director.

"To expand the LED-backlit LCD TV business successfully, LCD TV panel or TV set makers need to consider product competitiveness, including effective procurement, design innovation, cell business models and sales strategies because many consumers feel the price of LED-backlit LCD TV sets are still too high," noted Kwak.

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