WitsView Sees Mini LED TV Market Expansion Ahead
What will likely be a big story among the many new display technology announcements planned for the upcoming CES 2020 (Jan. 7-10) will be the evolution of big-screen televisions using Mini LED backlighting.
A new market update from the WitsView research firm, suggests the nascent backlight technology for familiar LCD panels is about to become a popular innovation trend among certain China-based television manufacturers.
TCL launched the first Mini LED products in the U.S. in 2019 with the Series 8 that brings brighter 4K LED-LCD TV pictures using many more backlighting zones than conventional LED-LCD TVs.
The technology provides greater control over localized on-screen brightness allowing for deep OLED-like black level and lower prices than comparably sized OLED TVs. TCL has announced that it is planning to discuss its second-generation Mini LED offerings at its CES press conference in coming days, and newcomers like China-based Konka have hinted at making news there with the technology as well.
“TCL is thrilled to be at tech’s biggest show and stand on tech’s grandest stage to share our latest Mini-LED developments alongside our vision for the industry in the AI and IoT age,” stated Kevin Wang, CEO of TCL Industrial Holdings and TCL Electronics. “TCL is committed to offering a wider range of products to satisfy the needs of consumers and provide them with better, more personalized experiences. Like all of our products, I hope this new line of TVs improves their lives by bringing joy into homes worldwide.”
Meanwhile, market research firm WitsView has issued a New Display Technology Cost Analysis quarterly report hinting that the competition at the high end of the TV market is about to heat up with an expansion of Mini LED-based TV brands. Many of these will be using Active Matrix (AI) Mini LED, which WitsView sees as crucial to the evolution of the technology because it offers performance attributes over Passive Matrix versions, including many more Mini LED zones.
The firm’s report shows that increased efficiency in LED die bonding, decreased pricing for Mini LED chips and historically low prices for open cells all coinciding to drive down the cost of Mini LED display modules used for 65-inch and larger televisions. WitsView reports that such component costs for 65-inch 4K Mini LED TVs are estimated to see approximately 5-10% reductions compared with 2018, and this is forecast to lead to more widespread adoption of the technology by TV markers.
The study observed that development of Mini LED display technology in the two years since its 2017 emergence has occurred at a much more rapid pace than other new display technologies, in part, because it leverages the traditional structures of LCD instead of new direct-emitting panels like Micro LED and OLED displays. This AM Mini LED approach is expected to have yield panels that exceed the previous limits of the well-established LED-LCD technology.
The research firm notes that the North American release of TCL’s 65-inch and 75-inch Series 8 Mini LED-LCD TVs in the fourth quarter of 2019 brought consumers a new more aggressively priced premium-positioned flat-panel display technology choice to go up against traditional LED-LCD TVs and OLED TVs.
WitsView calculates that the total cost of certain larger-screen step-up edge-lit LED-LCD TVs runs at about $350, compared to $650-$699 for the cost of passive matrix (PM) Mini LED backlights. These include around 16,000 LEDs. Meanwhile, the module cost of “dual cell” TV released by Hisense in China this year is estimated at $630.
WitsView pointed out that the cost for the Active Matrix variety of Mini LED TVs is still high relative to the overall market, but the cost-competitive attributes give it a bright outlook going forward. Active Matrix Mini LEDs offer a number of advantages to the PM variety, including an increased number of LED backlighting zones.
WitsView’s study observed that panel manufacturers including: AUO, BOE, CSOT and Innolux are actively developing AM-based Mini LED components, which WitsView expects will grow the share of Mini LED backlighting in the high-end TV market segment.
By Greg Tarr
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