Networking Becomes Key Feature for Flat Panel TVs

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 
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The latest generation of TV semiconductors, combined with digital broadcasting, is providing a fertile platform for rapid innovation in TV

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — In 2011, more than 27% of TVs shipped worldwide will be able to connect to a network, a figure that is expected to rise 54% to 155 million by 2015, according to the Q3’11 DisplaySearch Quarterly TV Design and Features Report. In addition, 16% of TVs shipping in Latin America in 2011 will be network-capable.

“The products shown at IFA Berlin this September demonstrate how networking is becoming a core feature of TVs,” said Paul Gray, DisplaySearch Director of TV Electronics Research. “The idea of TVs and companion screens is a powerful value proposition, both for selling smart phones and tablets that communicate with the TV, but also for mobile services to be enjoyed on the best screen.”

The latest generation of TV semiconductors, combined with digital broadcasting, is providing a fertile platform for rapid innovation in TV, in both mature and emerging markets.

Figure 1: DisplaySearch Connected TV Penetration Forecast

Middle East & Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, China, Eastern Europe, North America, Western Europe, Japan

Source: DisplaySearch Quarterly TV Design and Features Report

At the same time, the TV semiconductor business is struggling with the problems of hyper-competition. Consolidation is still playing out, including the rise of MStar Semi and Mediatek. TV manufacturers are restructuring their business models following losses in the first half of 2011. In addition, new lower cost LCD panel technology using LED backlights, shifts to out-sourcing, and new set designs are being investigated.

Integration and innovation in semiconductors is powering new capabilities, with networking emerging as an important new function. Consumer research suggests that the connection rate of TVs doubles when they have a wireless networking capability. TV manufacturers are responding and analysis of product ranges shown at IFA Berlin reveals how far wireless is filling product ranges.

Figure 2: Penetration of Wireless in TV Product Ranges (% of European Models)

Sony Electronics, Toshiba, Panasonic, Sharp Corp., LG Electronics, Philips, Samsung

Source: DisplaySearch Quarterly TV Design and Features Report

“Consumer wishes are very clear – no new wires,” said Gray. “The incorporation of wireless allows more than just networking, with powerful ad-hoc functions such as transfer of photos and video from a smart phone to a TV using Wireless Direct, or a program guide to be navigated without interrupting viewing.”

At the same time, TV IC innovation is not just extra featuring; it is enabling a re-shaping of the TV value chain. With TV manufacturers re-structuring their value chains, the latest TV ICs enable them to assemble sets from ‘open cell’ LCDs instead of buying complete LCD modules. One of the key enabling technologies is integration of the LCD timing controller into the main TV chip. This is examined in detail in the report.

“IC innovation is not just about decorating sets with extra featuring, but enables set makers to slim down their manufacturing,” added Gray.

The DisplaySearch Quarterly TV Design and Features Report is a quarterly update of the issues and rapid shifts in TV feature developments. The 250+ page report examines and forecasts video processor and signal processing IC market development, including 120/100 and 200/240 Hz frame rates as well as market shares for major IC vendors. In addition, the report also features forecasting for MPEG-4 decoding and the digital broadcast environment around the world, including a forecast for DVB-T2; TV connectivity, such as wired and wireless networked TVs; LED backlighting; 3D-capability and implementation; remote controls and chassis design; and power consumption.

For more information on this report, please contact Charles Camaroto at 1.888.436.7673 or 1.516.625.2452, or [email protected] or contact your regional DisplaySearch office in China, Japan, Korea or Taiwan.