January 24, 2012 -- Active matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED) TVs drew a crowd at International CES 2012 in Las Vegas this month, but manufacturing challenges and expensive fab materials will limit global shipments of the sets for several years, says IHS iSuppli. IHS compares the 55" AMOLED TVs from LG Display and Samsung, each using different manufacturing technologies for the OLED displays.
In 2012, 34,000 AMOLED TVs will ship. Global AMOLED TV shipments will hit 2.1 million units in 2015, just 1% of the total flat-panel market, shows a new IHS iSuppli Small and Medium Displays service.
|Figure. IHS iSuppli AMOLED TV shipment forecast.|
|Thousands of Units||20||22||34||321||935||2,107|
Manufacturing yield is too low for AMOLED TVs, keeping prices "dramatically higher than those of liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs," said Vinita Jakhanwal, director of small/medium and OLED displays at IHS. AMOLED manufacturing efficiencies and output yields are unlikely to match those of LCDs for the next three years. Large-sized AMOLED panel production faces issues with scaling manufacturing to newer-generation fabs. And the small pool of materials suppliers is keeping materials costs high.
Also read: OLED trends: Materials, color patterning advances and the display race
Billions of dollars have been invested in large-panel AMOLED display technology, by companies like LG Display and Samsung Electronics, which brought 55" units to CES. Recent innovations in AMOLED backplane technology, materials and equipment and suppliers’ investments in newer-generation AMOLED fabs have made these AMOLED TVs possible. However, pricing remains much higher compared to current LCD TVs in the market. In 2012, 55" AMOLED TVs ($8000) will cost about $4300 more than equivalent LCD TVs. The display improvements realized by AMOLED TVs are unlikely to sway consumers until this price gap drops to about 20%, Jakhanwal reports.
IHS iSuppli expects AMOLED display suppliers, equipment makers, material makers and TV makers to cooperate in developing more efficient and cost effective ways in order to make large-sized AMOLED panels, eventually pushing prices down.
Early production of 55" AMOLED panels is likely to be conducted at existing Gen-8 amorphous silicon (a-Si) LCD fabs that will be converted to make the oxide silicon backplanes needed for AMOLEDs. Both LGD and Samsung plan to move mass production to eighth-generation AMOLED lines in the future.
LG Display's 55" 3D, 3840 by 1260 definition AMOLED TV boasts of features that exceed any other flat-panel TV now on the market. The television is only 4 millimeters thick and weighs 17 pounds. It also has a pixel speed that is 1,000 times faster and consumes only one-third of the power compared to conventional LCDs. LG Display indicated the price for its 55" AMOLED TV is expected to decline to $4,000 by 2013 (comparable LCD TVs will likely cost less than $1,000). Samsung also showcased a 55-inch 3-D AMOLED television with similar specifications. LGD and Samsung are expected to begin shipping their OLED TVs to the market by the third quarter of 2012, in time for the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Table. A comparison of AMOLED and LCD televisions specifications. SOURCE: IHS iSuppli.
|Response Time||1 millisecond||1 sec.||2 sec.|
|Wide Viewing Angle||178°x178°||178°x178°||178°x178°|
|Power Consumption (Max.)||74W||230W||310W|
|Weight||17 lb.||62 lb||66 lb.|
LG Display and Samsung used different AMOLED technology in the TV sets they brought to CES.
Samsung’s AMOLED TV panel uses a horizontal red/green/blue (RGB) pixel structure, which requires a fine metal mask (FMM) for the AMOLED material patterning. This is challenging to implement on large substrates, due to fine-pitch alignment requirements for the FMM and glass substrate.
Samsung’s AMOLED technology mainly uses low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) LCD as the backplane. However, for larger fabs, the company may consider working with oxide silicon backplanes as an intermediary step before new-generation low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) backplanes are available.
LGD’s AMOLED panel used a vertical white-OLED (WOLED) pixel structure with a color filter, eliminating the need for an RGB mask and associated alignment. However, this approach needs an additional color filter. The oxide silicon backplane of LGD’s 55-inch TV likely will be manufactured at LGD’s existing eighth-generation a-Si LCD fab. LGD indicated that such a conversion of an existing a-Si fab to make oxide silicon backplanes will require almost 50% less investment than a new LTPS LCD fab. This fab, according to LGD, is able to do three half-cuts of 55" displays from one substrate.
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