The outlook for your ability to get the 2021 model TV you might have your eyes on, and the price you might have to pay for it isn’t good right now, following reports of component shortages limiting production yields this year.

According to reports out of Asia, widespread component supply shortages could impact availability on LCD TV panels from TCL owned panel maker China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSoT) and Innolux, two of the world’s largest LCD panel suppliers.

The display panel manufacturers were reported by Korean electronics business news site The Elec on Monday as warning that supplies of panels are expected to be “tight throughout the year.”

TCL chairman Li Dongsheng used a media briefing last week to announce that panel shortages will continue in the first half of 2021, following conditions already hampered last year during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the situation for the second half of the year “remains to be seen” but for 2021 overall panel supply will be tight.

The Elec article also cited Innolux president James Yang warning of a shortage in LCD panels caused by strong demand for LCD coming out of the global Covid-19 crisis, and he also added the conditions are expected to continue through 2021.

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Innolux has seen shortages in LCD components including power semiconductors, driver ICs and glass substrates that have kept production below capacity. Shortages of integrated circuits and semiconductors could continue right up to the first half of 2022, Yan cautioned.

Ironically, prior to the run on LCD panel supplies, manufacturers were also faced with the dilemma of overproduction causing a glut in inventory, which was driving prices artificially lower. This was the result of giant new LCD fabs coming online in China and other areas of Asia.

It’s possible that panel makers being cognizant of that threat, will be producing panels at a more tempered pace to keep margins healthy.

Industry observers have indicated that LCD panel prices are expected to continue rising in March after moving up in February.

TV manufacturers reportedly have been moving aggressively to replenish inventories of LCD panels to meet strong sales of TVs and other devices to meeting escalating demand, particularly in the United States and Europe.

At the same time, Samsung Display LCD monitor panel supplies for monitors are on course to terminate by the end of the first quarter 2021, and supply of IT panels overall will only continue to tighten up as demand increases for TVs and notebook panels, according to Asian analyst reports.

China-based Sigmaintell last week estimated the average selling price for a 21.5-inch LCD module for monitors would rise $3 to $55 this month, compared to a $2.50 increase for 23.8-inch panels and $2 increase for 27-inch monitor panels.

Increases are also expected to impact the prices of Chromebooks notebooks this month.

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By Greg Tarr

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