Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 31-08-2011

Despite well-publicised uptake problems, 3D LCD TV panel-makers are targeting 53% growth in Q3 2011 as essential technologies are maturing and costs continue to fall.
According to the latest DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Shipment Report, shipments of 3D-capable large-area TFT LCD panels increased to 5.2 million units in Q2, growing by 124% on a quarter by quarter (Q/Q) basis. The analyst found that shipments of 3D panels were primarily for LCD TVs, reaching 4.9 million units in Q2’11, 118% Q/Q growth, and pushing the 3D penetration in LCD TV panels from 4.5% in Q1’11 to 9.3% in Q2’11.

In the LCD TV segment, the report revealed that larger panel sizes are seeing faster penetration of 3D, as the benefits are more demonstrable, if not more demanded. For screens that are 40” and larger, 3D panel penetration increased from 12.7% in Q1’11 to 21.7% in Q2’11. DisplaySearch states that TV panel-makers are aiming to reach 28.2% in Q3’11.

In terms of the fundamental enabling 3D LCD TV technologies, shutter glass is still dominating the market, with 61% in Q2. However, the analyst also found that pattern retarder panels are also growing rapidly, with 271% Q/Q growth rate in Q2, compared to 74% Q/Q growth of shutter glass type panels. DisplaySearch calculates that pattern retarder panel shipments will reach those of shutter glass panels in Q3’11.

Fundamentally, despite the lack of a must-have status, DisplaySearch sees 3D as adding real value to a LCD TV panel industry that it feels has been in oversupply for more than a year.

“Although there are still doubts about whether the market is ready for 3D, 3D penetration is increasing due to falling prices and the ability to produce panels,” noted David Hsieh, vice president, Greater China Market, DisplaySearch. “3D is not only for high-end products; we are starting to see panel-makers develop cost-effective 3D, such as 60Hz refresh rate with signal simulation or lower frequency with blinking backlight units, which are targeted at affordability and will be critical in encouraging 3D adoption.”