Innolux Corp (群創) and AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電) are to ship the world’s first ultra-high-definition 8K LCD TV panels next quarter, one quarter ahead of their South Korean rivals, in an attempt to repeat the success in unveiling 4K panels, market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said yesterday.
Innolux started shipping a small volume of 65-inch 8K TV panels for customers, while AUO is to ship 65-inch 8K TV panels for global TV vendors next quarter, according to WitsView, an LCD research team of TrendForce.
South Korean panel makers, led by LG Display Co, are expected to unveil 98-inch and 65-inch 8K TV panels at the end of this year, WitsView said.
BOE Technology Group (京東方), China’s largest panel maker, might ship its first 8K TV panels in the second half of next year, the researcher said.
“The 8K TV panel is a business opportunity for Taiwanese LCD manufacturers as long as they do not engage in a capacity race with their rivals,” WitsView senior research director Eric Chiou (邱宇彬) said by telephone.
Executives from Innolux and AUO have said that they will focus on developing products with higher value and better margins in an effort to differentiate themselves from Chinese latecomers and to avoid a price war.
The companies have completely exited the standard 32-inch LCD TV panel market.
8K panels have a pixel density of 4,320 pixels per inch, double that of 4K panels and 16 times that of full high-definition panels.
However, this time, local panel makers might not be able to benefit from selling 8K panels as much as they did in introducing 4K TV panels, Chiou said.
Taiwanese firms are limited by their capacity, as 8K TV panels are mostly for bigger TVs, starting with 65-inch models, he said.
That is compared with entry-level 4K TV at 40 inches.
WitsView expects slow uptake of 8K LCD TVs, citing the lack of a mature ecosystem.
Only a few 8K LCD TVs will be available on the market this year, WitsView said, adding that these will be equipped with 4K chips, as 8K chips are under development.
By 2018, the penetration rate will only reach low single-digit percentages, Chiou forecast.
Another hurdle is a lack of 8K contents, the researcher said.
Apart from Japan, almost no content providers are developing 8K programs, it said.
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