LED backlights are growing rapidly in large-area (10"+) TFT LCD displays. Panels with LED backlights reached 10.6 million units in Q1'09, up 63% Q/Q and 780% Y/Y, according to the latest DisplaySearch Quarterly LED Backlight Panel Shipment + Forecast Report. According to the shipment plans of large-area TFT LCD makers, LED backlight panel shipments are expected to reach 104.5 million units in 2009. In Q4'09, penetration of LED backlight panels will be as high as 25%.
Currently, portable computers are the leading application for LED backlights, with 4.2 million LED backlit panels shipped for mini-note PCs (netbooks), or 100% LED penetration, and 5.9 million for notebook PCs, or 26% penetration, in Q1'09. All mini-note PCs used wedge type LED backlight design, but it is expected that slim type backlights will be used starting in Q2'09. In Q1'09, 76% of notebook LED backlit panels used wedge-type light guide plates. HannStar led in shipments LED backlight panels for mini-note PCs, while LG Display was the leading supplier of LED backlit panels for notebook PCs.
In desktop monitors, LED backlit panels shipments were only 0.1 million in Q1'09, representing less than 0.5% of LCD monitor panels shipped in Q1'09. The value of LED backlights for LCD monitors is still not clear to end users, therefore the adoption is limited. For TVs, shipments of LED backlit LCD panels were 0.4 million in Q1'09, concentrated in 40", 46" and 55" as Samsung launched side-lit LED TV models. Table 1 shows the top five LED backlit LCD panel makers in Q1'09.
Mini-note panels will remain 100% LED in 2009, and the LED backlight supply chain and panel suppliers are focused on increasing LED backlight penetration in other applications this year. In Q3'09, LED backlights will exceed CCFL backlights in notebook LCD panels, reaching 53% penetration. LCD TV panel makers are planning to ship 4.3 million panels with LED backlights in 2009, 68% side-light type and 32% direct. Table 2 shows the forecast of the top five LED backlight panel maker shares by application.
According to David Hsieh, Vice President of DisplaySearch, "The driving factors for the fast growth of LED backlights are slim and lightweight form factor, lower power consumption, market differentiation, dimming backlight capability, wide color gamut, and the trend towards green displays. However, there are many challenges in LED backlight design, components availability and cost, and panel makers are working closely with LED backlight supply chain participants to increase shipments."
Hsieh added, "The growing LED penetration in TFT LCD will raise new issues such as LED cost management, LED chip availability, and changes in backlight structure. As LED production shares the same capacity with the lighting market and many LED companies are evaluating the strategy for backlights, the market has some concerns over LED availability. We believe LED supply chain management will be a key success factor for panel makers and will reshuffle the competition landscape from now to 2010."
The newly released DisplaySearch Quarterly LED Backlight Panel Shipment & Forecast Report tracks TFT LCD manufacturers' shipments of LED backlight and includes forecasts by size, by resolution, by LED type, and by panel manufacturers through 2010. This unique report is the most comprehensive way to find out how faster LED backlight will contribute to growth across the industry, making it a key guide for panel buyers, LCD TV product planners and component makers. For information on the DisplaySearch Quarterly LED Backlight Panel Shipment & Forecast, contact Charles Camaroto at 1.888.436.7673 or 1.516.625.2452, email contact (at) displaysearch (dot) com, or contact your regional DisplaySearch office in China, Japan, Korea or Taiwan.