LED backlit panels are gaining traction in the market, with companies bringing this technology to netbooks, notebooks, monitors, and TVs.

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According to the latest DisplaySearch Quarterly LED Backlight Panel Shipment and Forecast Report, panels with LED backlights reached 10.6 million units in the first quarter of 2009, up 63 percent from the last quarter and 780 percent from last year.

Portable computers are leading the charge, with 4.2 million LED backlit panels shipped for mini-note PCs (netbooks) and 5.9 million for notebook PCs in the first quarter of 2009. HannStar led in shipments LED backlight panels for mini-note PCs, while LG Display was the leading supplier of LED backlit panels for notebook PCs.

In desktop monitors, LED backlit panels shipments were only 0.1 million, representing less than 0.5 percent of LCD monitor panels shipped in the first quarter. The value of LED backlights for LCD monitors is still not clear to end users, therefore the adoption is limited.

For TVs, shipments of LED backlit LCD panels were 0.4 million and concentrated in 40-, 46- and 55-inch as Samsung launched side-lit LED TV models.


DisplaySearch’s Vice President, David Hsieh said, “The driving factors for the fast growth of LED backlights are slim and lightweight form factor, lower power consumption, market differentiation, dimming backlight capability, wide color gamut, and the trend towards green displays. However, there are many challenges in LED backlight design, components availability and cost, and panel makers are working closely with LED backlight supply chain participants to increase shipments.”

 “The growing LED penetration in TFT LCD will raise new issues such as LED cost management, LED chip availability, and changes in backlight structure. As LED production shares the same capacity with the lighting market and many LED companies are evaluating the strategy for backlights, the market has some concerns over LED availability. We believe LED supply chain management will be a key success factor for panel makers and will reshuffle the competition landscape from now to 2010,” says Hsieh.

According to the shipment plans of large-area TFT LCD makers, LED backlight panel shipments are expected to reach 104.5 million units in 2009. During the fourth quarter of this year, penetration of LED backlight panels will be as high as 25%.

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