Wed, May 19, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Researcher stresses importance of LCDs

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Displays are playing an increasingly critical role in modern devices, and the evolution of display technology has accelerated innovation of many information technology products, International Data Corp (IDC) said yesterday.

"Improving display characteristics changes the very nature of devices," Bob O'Donnell, IDC's research director for personal technology, said at a high-tech seminar held by the Massachusetts-based research firm in Taipei yesterday.

Take mobile phones. "With enlarged and high-resolution displays, the handheld device has become a gadget of a different character from the old black-and-white one," O'Donnell said.

The fundamental element in such transformations is the display, he said.

The display sector will move toward displays that are digital, flatter and larger in the next four to five years, the researchers said.

Liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors are expected to surpass traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors in unit shipments worldwide this year, O'Donnell said.

Global shipments of LCD monitors are predicted to grow to nearly 70 million units this year, up from nearly 50 million last year, while shipments of CRT monitors will drop to a bit more than 50 million units this year from around 60 million units last year, according to IDC.

The 17-inch display will take over from the 15-inch as the sector's mainstream product this year, driven by panel suppliers' pursuit of more profits instead of strong market demand, O'Donnell said. The 19-inch LCD monitors will overtake the 15-inch size to be the second-ranking unit by 2008.

The display sector's innovations also will lead to a wave of replacements in the television market in the next few years.

CRT TVs are rapidly yielding to the trend toward digital flat-panel TVs, which are expected to account for around 65 percent of the global TV market in 2008, according to IDC.

LCD TVs have great opportunity for strong growth in the boom of digital TVs, especially following the price cuts expected in the next few years, said Danielle Levitas, IDC consumer devices and services director.

LCD TV prices are expected to fall by approximately 27 percent per year through 2008, according to the research institute. LCD TVs between 30 inches and 39 inches, for example, would see an average price of around US$4,000 this year drop to below US$1,000 in 2008.

Shipments of LCD TVs are expected to grow from less than 10 million units this year to nearly 70 million units by 2008, taking nearly 40 percent of the worldwide TV market, IDC said.

These products are expected to be popular in countries that prefer smaller devices, like Japan, while US consumers may still prefer plasma TVs of larger sizes, O'Donnell said.

As a leader in the global flat-panel-manufacturing sector, Taiwan has tremendous opportunities in the LCD TV industry, he said.

"TVs can be seen as furniture, which needs to look good no matter whether they are on or off," O'Donnell said.

Taiwan's vendors should focus on product design to differentiate themselves from Korean or Japanese competitors in the global arena, he said.

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