4KTV industry reshapes as growth slows

Michelle Clancy
| 29 July 2014

4K adoption is growing in the TV market, though not as quickly as expected, while the 4K LCD TV panel value chain is changing in 2014, according to NPD DisplaySearch.

In technology, developments such as RGBW, M+ or One Gate One Drain Driving (1G1D) are aimed at making 4K LCD panels cheaper and more efficient. In terms of value chain relationships, Samsung Electronics and LGE are increasingly using 4K panels from their affiliated panel makers Samsung Display and LG Display, who are also increasing their activities in the China market. Meanwhile, Chinese TV makers are increasing their purchases of 4K TVs.

The firm had calculated that global TV makers plan to purchase 20 million 4K panels in 2014, but results from the first half of the year indicate shipments of only 6.4 million so far, as panel makers such as AUO, BOE, ChinaStar, Samsung Display, LG Display are not meeting their targets.

In 2014, six China brands (TCL, Hisense, Haier, Changhong, Konka, Skyworth) will purchase 7.3 million 4K LCD panels, representing 36% of the global amount. The China market remains the share of the 4K TV market and LCD TV panel makers like Samsung Display, LG Display, Innolux, AUO and ChinaStar see the China market as their most important target for their 4K TV products.

Samsung TV and LGE will purchase 6.1 million 4K panels for the year, representing 30% of the global total. This means that Korean brands will become leading players in the 4K industry, a change from 2013 when the global 4KTV market was concentrated in China. The 4K TV market will increase the competition between Korea and China. Japanese brands (Sony, Toshiba, Sharp, Panasonic) are planning to purchase 2.5 million 4K TV panels in 2014, representing 12% of the global amount.

In 2013, Taiwanese panel makers, especially Innolux, dominated the China 4K TV market. However, the China TV makers are starting to purchase more 4K TV panels from Samsung Display and LG Display. Chinese brands (TCL, Hisense, Haier, Changhong, Konka, Skyworth) will purchase 33% from Innolux, 21% from ChinaStar, 15% from LG Display, 12% from Samsung Display, 11% from AUO and 8% from BOE. This means that Taiwanese 4K panels will account for 44%, still higher than 27% for Korean panels. And Chinese-produced 4K panels, mainly from BOE and ChinaStar, will be 29%.

For main brands, the main supplier and second supplier for their 4K TV models are becoming clear, NPD DisplaySearch noted. Samsung TV purchases 72% of its 4KTV panels from Samsung Display, and 19% from Innolux. AUO and Sharp are providing some specific high end or bigger size models to Samsung TV. LGE will purchase 80% of their 4K TV panels from LG Display and 20% from Innolux. Sony will purchase 55% from AUO, 36% from LG Display, and 9% from Innolux.

Brands like Toshiba, Sharp, Panasonic, TPV/Philips have the same first source-second source layout. This means that as the 4K TV market grows, TV brands are reshaping their panel purchase strategy to secure long-term panel allocations.

Finally, the second tier TV makers in China including AMTC, Tongfang (which has several sub-brands in the US), HKC and KTC are rising, and these brands are becoming more important customers for panel makers, including for 4K panels.