An unforeseen increase in global liquid crystal display television (LCD TV) panel shipments occurred in the first six months of 2014, the result of World Cup fever, an improved economy and other factors, according to a new report from IHS Technology.
While the 3 percent growth in panel shipments from the same period a year ago does not match the 9 percent growth panels logged in the first half of last year, the surprising growth is welcome to an industry expecting none, as shown in Figure 1.
“What a surprising result this was, as the television industry doubted that shipments could increase during this time,” said Ricky Park, director for large displays at HIS, in a statement. “It was unclear whether any growth would occur because of signs earlier in the year that appeared to be discouraging. However, the market has righted itself, to everyone’s delight.”
Park attributed the growth to several factors chief among them being the enthusiasm for this year’s World Cup, the world’s premiere soccer tournament that drove demand for televisions up, specifically in Europe and South America.
However, other factors include an improving North American and Chinese economy, a new subsidy program in Mexico and the continued analog to digital shift that is still happening in many regions.
But the picture for LCD TV panel makers is not all rosy. Several production factors put into question whether growth can be sustained. Among these problems are a drop in yields, a loss in capacity due to production line modifications, quality issues for the ultra-high-definition television (UHD TV) segment, low production efficiencies for multi-mode on glass (MMG) method and deteriorating yields for glass in production lines, according to Park.
On top of this, IHS believes a substantial loss in production capacity will occur during the remainder of the year because panel makers in China and Taiwan are slated to use different electrode materials from those currently deployed, in order to improve UHD products in the long haul.
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