Demand for LED LCD TVs has been on the rise, but sales have been stunted by the fact that key components, such as Light Guide Plates (LGPs), are in short supply. This is set to continue well into 2011, causing concern for many in the industry.
The shortages in LGPs and raw materials for edge-type LED LCD panels was first raised during the first half of this year. LGP manufacturers have been attempting to deal with the problem by turning their diffusion plate lines into LGP lines, increasing competition dramatically, but still failing to meet the increasing demand.
A slight ease up on demand has recently helped, forcing many retailers to sell of overstocked units at sale prices. This has resulted in some manufacturers producing less LGPs than their capacity allows. However, this slowing demand is expected to change for the worse in 2011, according to the LGP for LED LCD TV 2011 report by Displaybank.
The report highlights that 78 million units of LED LCD Tvs will be sold next year, double that of 2010, while the edge-type LED LCD market will boom thanks to increasing demand. It predicts that the slowdown in production of LGPs could have a detrimental effect on the market when things pick up, as there simply will not be enough to go around.
With the market expected to double in 2011, supply of LGPs and raw materials will be essential. To ease the problem some LGP manufacturers are attempting to make slimmer LGPs, which will utilise less raw materials and therefore result in more end products.
Many LGP makers are still producing the plates with a thickness of 4mm, despite the ability to lower this to 3.5mm or even 3mm and save the extra raw materials for other LGPs.
LGP manufacturers are also experimenting with new processes and the development of new materials, which could help the situation. Some are also increasing the brightness of their LGPs, but this is unlikely to have a positive effect on supply.