TFT-LCD backlights to consume 34 million LEDs by 2012, says DisplaySearch

Austin, Tex. — DisplaySearch projects that 34 million LEDs will be used in TFT-LCD backlights, in sizes ranging from 1 inch to more than 70 inches, by 2012, up 300 percent from 8 billion units in 2008, according to the market researcher’s latest report on display LEDs.

The report, Display LEDs: Lighting Up the Display World, indicates that a total of 70.8 billion LEDs were shipped in 2008, with active outdoor displays consuming 11 billion LEDs or 15 percent of the total in 2008, and LCD backlights, using 8 billion or 11 percent of the total.

“LEDs will create new growth for the TFT LCD industry due to characteristics such as lowering power consumption, meeting green requirements, adding dimming capability, improving color performance and enabling slim and light form factors for LCD panels and applications,” said Yoshio Tamura, vice president of DisplaySearch and the component research team leader, in a statement.

The study also reports that within LCD backlight applications, five key products are adopting LEDs: small/medium, notebook PCs, desktop monitors, industrial applications, and TV.

DisplaySearch forecasts that display LEDs, including 24 billion for active outdoor displays and 34 billion for LCD backlights, will have a 34.7 percent share of the global 167-billion unit LED market in 2012, making display LEDs the largest market segment. LED revenues for outdoor displays are projected to reach $1 billion in 2009 and $1.5 billion in 2012.


Low-current LEDs will be the mainstream type used in large-area LCD backlights, due to cost, thermal management and luminance efficiency requirements, says DisplaySearch. High-power LEDs, with a driving current higher than 350 mA (more than 1W), are not well-suited for LCD backlights due to thermal issues, and will primarily be used in general lighting applications that require high brightness, says the market researcher.

DisplaySearch forecasts that shipments of LED backlights for large-size (10-inch+) TFT LCDs will exceed 368 million units in 2012, and will reach 31 million units for desktop monitors in 2012, says DisplaySearch.

The penetration rate of LED backlights in notebook PCs will reach 52 percent in 2009, and will grow rapidly to 81 percent in 2010, according to the report. In LCD TV, the penetration rate will ramp up from 3 percent with 3.6 million units in 2009 to 10 percent with 15 million units in 2010.

DisplaySearch reports that leading LCD TV brands including Samsung, Philips, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio and LG are planning to increase their use of LED backlights starting in the second half of 2009. A driving factor is the change in LED backlight structure from direct to edge-light type, which reduces the cost premium over CCFL backlights, says the market researcher.

The report also indicates that Nichia and Toyota Gosei will continue to dominate the market for blue and white LEDs for LCD backlights over the next three years, due to their strong patent portfolios and customer relationships. However, Samsung LED, Stanley, Citizen, Showa Denko, Seoul Semiconductor and OSRAM are targeting growth in LED backlights for LCD TVs. Taiwanese makers such as Lite-On, Chi-Mei Lighting, Lighthouse and Everlight are entering the backlight market with low cost structures.