Makers 'aggressively' push 4K as LCD TV panels reach record high

Joseph O'Halloran | 30 April 2015

Despite inventory adjustment caused by brands reducing panel orders in the first quarter of 2015, demand and panel facilitation plans have pushed LCD TV shipments to a record monthly high in March 2015 says IHS.

According to the analyst's latest Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database LCD TV panel shipments from global panel makers reached 23.9 million in March 2015, growing 20% month on month and 11% year on year. Yet panel shipments also declined seasonally in Q1 of this year, attributed to two key drivers. First, said IHS, due to the fact that most LCD TV modules are manufactured in China and the Chinese New Year holidays in February meant fewer working days in LCD cell fabs in Asia and LCD module lines in China. Secondly, the analyst noted that as the LCD TV panel supply-demand balance shifted from tightness to oversupply, TV makers started to reduce orders, especially for older models.
On balance though the analyst expected positive year-over-year growth, especially given what it called a strong rebound for LCD TV panel shipments in March, plus the onset of 4KTV. IHS's research found that led by Samsung Display and LG Display, 4KTV LCD panel shipments grew from 1.7 million in February to a record-setting 2.6 million units in March 2015.
"Although the LCD TV panel demand has shown signs of slowing after the holidays, leading TV brands are preparing their new models for launch, so orders are not diminished," said Yoonsung Chung, director of large area display research for IHS. "Meanwhile, panel makers are aggressively introducing 4K resolution, wide colour gamut, ultra-slim bezels and other new features, to improve panel shipment growth...Demand will slow, beginning in the second quarter of 2015, and panel prices are already starting to fall, so TV panel shipments may face some growth challenges in the coming months."