DisplaySearch, a market tracking firm for displays and TV-sets, recently said that the popularity of stereoscopic 3D-capable LCD panels increased by over two times quarter-over-quarter in Q2 2011. Market share of stereo-3D TVs also increased by the factor of two during the quarter.
“The LCD TV panel industry has been in oversupply for more than a year, and panel makers are motivated to develop new features like LED and 3D to increase value. 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,” said David Hsieh, a vice president at DisplaySearch.
Shipments of stereo-3D (S3D) capable large-area LCD panels increased to 5.2 million units in Q2, growing by 124% quarter-over-quarter. Shipments of S3D panels were primarily for LCD TVs, reaching 4.9 million units in Q2 2011, 118% quarter-over-quarter growth, and pushing the 3D penetration in LCD TV panels from 4.5% in Q1 2011 to 9.3% in Q2 2011. According to the DisplaySearch, panel makers are targeting 53% growth in S3D LCD TV panel shipments for Q3 as both shutter glass and pattern retarder technologies are maturing and costs continue to fall.
For LCD TVs, larger panel sizes are seeing faster penetration of S3D, as the benefits are clearer. In 40” and larger LCD TV panel shipments, S3D penetration increased from 12.7% in Q1 2011 to 21.7% in Q2 2011. TV panel makers are aiming to reach 28.2% in Q3’11.
In addition to TV, stereo-3D monitor panel shipments are growing rapidly, from less than 80 000 units in Q1 2011 to more than 250 000 in Q2 2011, thanks to adoption in gaming and other special application monitors. The mainstream 3D technology currently used in desktop monitors is shutter glass, but pattern retarder and switched cell solutions are emerging too. Panel makers expect to double shipments in Q3 2011.
Volumes of stereo-3D panels for notebook PCs are still relatively small, with less than 100 000 units shipped in Q2 2011. However, panel makers are promoting shutter glass, pattern retarder, and autostereoscopic solutions to the gamer and entertainment- focused notebook users. Shipments are expected to grow by 126% in Q3 2011.
“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," added Mr. Hsieh.
In terms of 3D LCD TV technologies, shutter glass is still dominating the market, with 61% in Q2. However, pattern retarder panels are growing rapidly, with 271% quarter-over-quarter growth rate in Q2, compared to 74% quarter-over-quarter growth of shutter glass type panels.