SID 2007 showcases $100 billion industry

June 1, 2007
LONG BEACH, CA-During what is affectionately called “SID week” by its organizer and sponsor the Society for Information Display (San Jose, CA), an announcement was made by market intelligence company iSuppli (El Segundo, CA) that the global electronic display market was expected to surpass $100 billion in revenue this year.

LONG BEACH, CA-During what is affectionately called “SID week” by its organizer and sponsor the Society for Information Display (San Jose, CA), an announcement was made by market intelligence company iSuppli (El Segundo, CA) that the global electronic display market was expected to surpass $100 billion in revenue this year.

“This growth is being driven by thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal displays (TFT LCDs),” said Paul Semenza, VP, display research for iSuppli. “TFT-LCD represents three-quarters of the display market and is in every major application one can think of.”

Semenza’s findings were supported at this year’s annual SID Symposium (May 20-25) by Ross Young, founder and president of display market research firm DisplaySearch (Austin, TX). Young claimed in his opening presentation at the Tuesday SID Press Breakfast that the amorphous silicon (a-Si) TFT LCD market share for 2006 was an even healthier 83%-compared with 9% for the second-in-line plasma display panels (PDPs) and still only 1% for emerging organic light-emitting device (OLED) displays.

Young did caution, however, that while shipment volumes and growth rates continue to be healthy across all display types, flat-panel display (FPD) revenue curves overall were heading downward-a caution that was similarly relayed at last year’s SID Hot Topics conference on Mobile Displays (see OER,October 15, 2006, p. 1). Young also emphasized that FPD revenues are “overly dependent” on the television market for growth, with TVs representing 36% of the FPD market share in 2006, compared to 23% for desktop monitors, 15% for mobile phones, and only 11% for notebook computers.

Technology trends

On the technology side, the Tuesday morning SID Plenary and Keynote sessions began with a presentation from Jerry Pierce, former VP of technology at Universal Pictures (Universal City, CA), who described the progression from a film-centric to a digital-only cinema industry and how it is driving the lucrative home entertainment/DVD industry. As consumers thirst for an increasingly rich viewing experience, manufacturers naturally benefit by providing larger, lower-cost displays, such as a 108-in. TFT LCD display from Sharp-said to be the largest on the show floor. A SONY (Tokyo, Japan) 70-in. display that uses OSRAM (Regensburg, Germany) Golden Dragon Argus LEDs for backlighting was also on display and sells for $33,000, according to OSRAM LEDs marketing manager Winfried Schwedler.

To put display size in perspective, In Doo Kang, GM and corporate VP of AKT (an Applied Materials Co.; Fremont, CA) noted in his keynote session how FPD makers continue to invest in large-area substrate manufacturing to reduce costs and end-user display prices-reminding the audience that a 46 in. high-definition TV can now be purchased for around $2000. Current state-of-the-art manufacturing is generation 8 technology, which enables a 2 m x 2 m display substrate. Despite the 42,000 lbs. of stainless steel and 250,000 lbs. of bulk aluminum it takes to build a generation 8 systems (not to mention the 28 crates on 14 trucks or 3 jumbo jets needed to transport it), there is no sign that substrate sizes have reached a limit. In fact, Corning (Corning, NY) detailed its contributions to increasing glass substrate sizes in the 3rd Annual Corning Media Breakfast, citing ongoing innovation in display glass materials.

As the winner of the 2007 SID Display Component of the Year award for its Eagle XG glass (an environmentally “green” composition without heavy metals), Corning also described work on its silicon-on-glass (SiOG) technology for more uniform OLED-based displays, as well as ongoing work to increase the power of its green lasers that are targeted at the projection market (see articles/286495). “Projection is a powerful enabler” that breaks the barrier between small size and a rich viewing experience, said Corning green laser product manager Jim Grochocinski.

New products

The SID Display of the Year Gold and Silver awards went to Samsung Electronics (Seoul, South Korea) for its 40 in. LCD LED-backlit TV and to Matsushita (Osaka, Japan) for its 103 in. diagonal 1080p plasma display, respectively. Here are just a few of the many noteworthy new products on display at SID 2007:

-Displays (of course) top the list of products showcased at SID 2007. In addition to standard TFT-LCD types and low-cost zero-power electronic-point-of-purchase (epop) and cholesteric LCD displays from ZBD Displays (Windsor, England) and Kent Displays (Kent, OH), respectively, OLED-based displays continue to progress in size and functionality. Phosphorescent OLED displays from Universal Display (Ewing, NJ), polymer OLED displays from Cambridge Display (CDT; Cambridgeshire, England), and hole-injection-layer OLEDs from DuPont (Wilmington, DE) were a few in the OLED mix. Toshiba displayed a 20.8 in. active-matrix OLED (AMOLED) TV in partnership with CDT and plans to ship 30 in. AMOLED TVs by 2009.

-3-D display technology continues to make inroads into the realm of virtual reality. Pavonine (Incheon, Korea) showed its wire-grid stereoscopic display, while SeeReal (Luxembourg, Belgium) presented the first 20 in. real-time holographic display. Though only monochrome, the real-time display was guarded in a secret viewing room behind their booth. SeeReal anticipates its first holographic TV in 2010 or 2011-arguing that the 3-D experience is the future of display technology.

-Touch screen technology has moved beyond the standard resistive and/or capacitive/conductive technologies to a variety of different optical technologies. Former telecom company RPO (Canberra, Australia) debuted its waveguide-based touch technology, and QSI (Salt Lake City, UT) showed its optical scanner touch-screen technology.

-Backlighting is becoming overwhelmingly a laser and LED market. I overheard one conference attendee say, “If you’re not using lasers or LEDs, you just shouldn’t bother advertising or promoting your backlighting products.” The vendors are too numerous to list, but most are working on reducing the number of LEDs required to achieve a uniform backlight. Notably, Global Lighting Technology (GLT; Cleveland, OH) is producing a molded microlens array with such high diffusion efficiency that a single LED can illuminate a mobile-sized display screen.

-ePaper (electronic paper) displays have entered the mainstream with products like the Sony Reader that incorporates the E Ink (Cambridge, MA) ePaper display (see articles/257207). Another company to watch is Prime View International (Hsinchu, Taiwan) with its 6 in. EBOOK reader device.

-Projection technology that takes an ordinary display image and allows the user to project that image onto a screen (or wall) for the benefit of multiple viewers continues to drive a number of emerging companies including Light Blue Optics (LBO; Cambridge, England) with its wide-throw-angle and speckle-reduction technology, Explay (Herzliya, Israel) with its miniature ‘nano’ projector, and Microvision (Redmond, WA) with its Pico Projector display engines.
-Gail Overton

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