Key FPD Application Trends at SID Display Week 2009
July 30, 2009 / David Chen
67 Page, Topical Report
US$5,400 (Single User License)


At this year's SID Display Week 2009 exhibition, held in the US city of San Antonio at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center from May 31 to June 5, MIC collected data on a large number of FPD (Flat Panel Display) products. This report examines display technologies and applications of these FPD products, and provides in-depth analysis of e-paper display, AM-OLED display, touch panel display, 3D display, LCD TV display, and mobile phone display development trends observed at SID 2009.
  •  Table of Contents
  •  List of Topics
  •  List of Figures
  •  List of Tables

TFT-LCD Still Dominant FPD Technology

a-Si TFT-LCD was the most adopted technology among the 340 showcased FPD products at SID 2009, accounting for 43.8% of all products. This was followed by flexible electrophoretic display with 12.9%, electrophoretic display with 11.2%, and LTPS TFT-LCD with 10.9%. Evidently, TFT-LCD technology is still the dominant technology in the FPD sector. The combined share of a-Si TFT-LCD and LTPS TFT-LCD reached 54.7%, compared to 50.9% at SID 2008.

Meanwhile, the share of products adopting flexible electrophoretic display technology at SID 2009 increased evidently, from 5.3% in 2008 to 12.9% in 2009. The share of electrophoretic display technology at SID 2009 was 11.2%. The combined share of flexible electrophoretic display and electrophoretic display increased from 17.2% in 2008 to 24.1% in 2009.

Japanese Vendors Focus on Industrial Applications, Korean Vendors on Mainstream TV and IT Applications, US Vendors on E-Reader

Further examining the products showcased by participating vendors at SID 2009, MIC finds that among industrial applications Japanese vendors accounted for 96.8%, or 61 of the of the 63 showcased products. Japanese vendors thus continue to develop this application market.

Furthermore, Korean vendors accounted for the largest share in mainstream application sectors such as LCD TV, public information display, LCD monitor and mobile phone. This highlights the fact that Korean vendors, with their massive production capacities, still invest most of their resources into mainstream application markets and not niche markets.

US vendors focused on the emerging application products e-book reader and e-document reader with significant future development potential. US companies accounted for 34 of the 37 products showcased in these two application categories, or 91.9%. This trend might be directly related to the fact that major suppliers of electronic ink - a key material for the production of e-book readers and e-document readers - are all US companies. Another factor might be the consumer acceptance of the Kindle and Kindle Store, rolled out by Amazon in the US market.

2D Display Features Have Reached High Level in LCD TV Displays; 3D Display to Become New Battleground

In terms of wide-viewing angle, high brightness, high contrast ratio and quick response time, the 18 LCD TV display models seen at SID Display Week 2009 had reached the highest level within the TFT-LCD technology arena.

Very clearly, in terms of 2D display features the LCD TV displays had achieved a high level for commercialized TFT-LCD technology. In order to stimulate LCD TV display market growth, FPD vendors have to come up with new display features that possess the potential for explosive growth. The ratio of LCD TV displays at SID Display Week 2009 featuring 3D display functions increased considerably, growing from 6.3% in 2008 to 16.7% in 2009.

MIC forecasts that the ratio of LCD TV displays with 3D display features will reach approximately 28.0% at the SID Display Week 2010. 3D display features will thus become a new battleground for vendors.

Breakthroughs in Lenticular Lens Technology Accelerate Commercialization of 2D/3D Switchable LCD TV Displays

As observed at the SID Display Week 2009 exhibition, by making use of technology developed by Philips, LG Display achieved a breakthrough and successfully conducted trial production for flat-panel GRIN lenticular lens 2D/3D switchable LCD TV display. The company has thoroughly solved problems of older technologies, which centered on low yield rates for processes within the lenticular lens.

The technology leader LG display has thus come up with an efficient solution to technology process bottlenecks. This large breakthrough is expected to accelerate the commercialization schedule of GRIN lenticular lens 2D/3D switchable LCD TV displays. This can link up with the DVD market for Hollywood 3D animation movies. This will help to meet consumer demand for these TVs.

Successful Technology R&D Accelerates Market Penetration of LED Backlight LCD TV Displays

The new 2D local dimming LED backlight LCD TV display product announced by Samsung is not only ultra slim, but also possesses ultra high contrast ratio. Samsung has thereby increased its technological lead over its competitors.

Samsung's new technology was jointly developed with two British companies. The thickness of the 2D local dimming LED backlight LCD TV display module has been reduced to 10mm. Furthermore, as they adopted a unique process design that included light guide plate with embedded LED lighting, the platform is able to realize the local dimming ultra-high contrast ratio which is a feature of bottom lighting backlight modules. The contrast ratio of the display product could reach as high as 1,000,000:1. Samsung also stated that by using the new technology, LCD TV display backlight module costs can be significantly reduced.

The three companies in the future plan to develop 3D local dimming LED backlight LCD TV displays. These products are not only expected to feature ultra-slim design and ultra-high contrast ratio, but the color saturation ratio could reach higher than 100%.

3D Monitor Application Market Emerging Strongly in 3D Display Segment

In order to effectively stimulate growth in the monitor market, monitor vendors have been aggressively trying to expand emerging application markets in recent years. The aim of their efforts is to extend the market for monitors from the enterprise segment to the entertainment segment. They have focused on 3D monitors for the gaming segment and have conducted relevant technology development.

3D displays, the most important element of 3D monitors, have started to feel the impact of end-market demand. The share of monitors among 3D display applications at SID 2009 already reached 20.0%.

All 3D monitors showcased at SID 2009 featured special glasses technology, including polarizer-type glasses technology and shutter-type glasses technology. The parallax element technology involved in 3D displays with special glasses is relatively mature, and the supply chain is able to ship products rapidly in order to meet demand in the emerging 3D monitor market. Therefore, the share of 3D displays featuring special 3D glasses increased considerably at SID 2009.

LG Display Has Technology Lead in Lenticular Lens Technology; Other Vendors Developing New Technologies

Regarding prior art technology for lenticular lens, yield rates of processes within the lens were difficult to control and costs were high. Furthermore, lenticular lens technology patents are controlled by Philips of the Netherlands. Due to technology bottlenecks in production processes and technology patent barriers, other companies reduced their aggressiveness in terms of investments for lenticular lens technology development.

By using new technologies developed by Philips, LG Display has achieved breakthroughs in lenticular lens production technologies. The company has conducted successful production trials for a flat-panel GRIN lenticular lens 2D/3D switchable display product, and it has thoroughly solved yield rate problems of previous technologies.

Due to this breakthrough, LG display has increased its technology lead in lenticular lens technology. As a result, other companies want to avoid LG Display in the lenticular lens arena and are developing new types of parallax element technology, including: barrier lens, dual-depth imaging switchable, time sequential OCB technology etc.

After examining products adopting these new technologies, it was found that the 3D effects of these products can not yet compete with the mainstream lenticular lens technology. Drawbacks of these new technologies include: small viewing angle, low brightness, flicker, crosstalk etc.

Lenticular lens technology has thus achieved a high level in terms of 3D visual effects, while LG Display has achieved breakthroughs in terms of production processes, which were previously hampered by low yield rates. Therefore, MIC forecasts that in the coming few years lenticular lens technology will continue to be the mainstream technology for 3D displays.

Share of Mobile Phone Displays with Multi-Touch, 3D Features Growing

Key display features of mobile phone displays have reached high levels, including wide viewing angle, high brightness, and high contrast ratio. Other display features, such as high resolution, fast response time, and high color saturation ratio continue to improve.

The share of mobile phone displays equipped with multi-touch and 3D features at SID 2009 increased compared to the previous year. The share of products with multi-touch increased from 2.0% in 2008 to 14.6% at SID 2009, while the share of products with 3D features increased from 1.0% to 4.9% at SID 2009.

MIC forecasts that among the mobile phone display products at SID 2010, 22.0% will have multi-touch features and 12.0% 3D features. These two display features possess significant market development potential.

New E-paper Display Technologies Focus on Color and Video Rate Advantages

Assessing the technology performance of the 121 e-paper display products showcased at SID 2009, the mainstream electrophoretic display technology is far ahead of new e-paper display technologies in terms of paper white and flexible substrates. The most aggressive company in this regard was E-Ink.

However, this research report has also shown that new e-paper display technologies are ahead of mainstream technologies in terms of color and video rate. The ratio of products at SID 2009 with color and video rate features increased considerably compared to the previous year. The ratio of products with color features increased from 8.3% to 14.9%, while the ratio of products with video rate features increased from 2.3% to 14.0%.

Mainstream technologies are thus still unable to achieve significant breakthroughs in terms of color and video rate features, gradually leading to the emergence of new types of e-paper displays. Feasible technology solutions for color and video rate features are aggressively launched. Qualcomm was the most aggressive in this regard.

MIC forecasts that at SID 2010 paper white and flexible substrate will still be focus areas of mainstream technologies. New types of e-paper display technologies will aggressively push color and video rate features.

E-Reader Application Gradually Becoming More Important for E-paper Display

In 2007, Amazon launched the e-book reader Kindle in the US market, together with the Kindle Store. Kindle users can read and download content through the Kindle Store. This kind of reading service business model attracted much attention among the media and consumers after its launch. Furthermore, green awareness has been growing among consumers in recent years, and market demand for non-paper e-readers has emerged. Several vendors have started to aggressively develop the e-reader device market. Sony has increased investments for Reader Digital Book, iRex launched the iLiad e-reader, Brother launched the SC-100B document viewer, and Foxit launched the eSlick reader. 

E-paper display, a key component for e-readers has certainly felt the impact of the potential demand in this new emerging market segment. This can be seen from the fact that among the e-paper displays showcased at SID 2009 28.9% were for e-book reader and e-document reader applications, compared to only 10.1% during SID 2008.

Therefore, due to the aggressive e-reader device development of companies such as Amazon, Sony, iRex, Brother and Foxit, consumers have gradually started to accept non-paper e-reader devices.

AM-OLED Product Application Limited by Brightness Performance

Due to the characteristics of light-emitting materials such as fluorescence and phosphorescence, AM-OLED has shown better performance than LCD in terms of wide viewing angle, contrast ratio, color saturation, and response speed.

In the crucial brightness performance, however, AM-OLED still has not shown significant progress. Although small- and medium-size applications have developed from 200 nits to 300 nits, large-size applications remained in the range of 200 nits to 250 nits.

As a result, major sizes for AM-OLED display applications merely expanded to under 9.x". Application products in this range include mobile phone, digital still camera, MP3 player, PND, portable TV, and digital photo frame.

As the brightness of 10.x" and larger AM-OLED display products still cannot reach over 350 nits, AM-OLED cannot cross over into the mainstream application fields of TV, notebook PC, monitors, and automotive displays. At present, 10.x" and larger AM-OLED display products are still in the development stage and cannot enter mass production.

According to Kodak's research published at SID 2009, the enhancement of brightness and display lifespan can be achieved through reduction of color saturation. If such a trade-off is an inevitable technological option, AM-OLED will lose its advantage in high color saturation and thereby lose its chance to compete with TFT-LCD as a mainstream FPD technology.

Korean Companies Lead AM-OLED Technology Development in High Brightness and New Display Features

The four companies showcasing AM-OLED display products at SID 2009 averaged a score of 5.4 in the technology assessment. Samsung led the pack with the highest score of 5.6.

Samsung's AM-OLED products had a significant edge over other companies' AM-OLED products in the key indicators of high brightness, touch functions, 3D imaging, and flexible substrate.

Overall, Korean companies remained the industry leaders in technology performance, especially in terms of high brightness and development of other new display features.

Adoption of New Touch Panel Technologies Sees Significant Growth

Of the 42 touch panel display products showcased at SID 2009, the resistive and capacitive touch panel technologies combined accounted for 73.8%. Other new touch panel technologies, including electromagnetic resonance touch panel and photo sensor touch panel technologies, accounted for the other 26.2%. Compared with SID 2008, it can be seen that the adoption rate of new touch panel technologies has leapt from 2.4% to 26.2%, while that of traditional technologies dropped from 83.7% to 73.8%.

The trend shows that the adoption of new touch panel technologies has seen significant growth, thanks to their use in emerging applications such as e-document and e-book readers. In these new application products, touch panels are mainly used for reflective e-paper displays.

From the actual products showcased at SID 2009, this research finds that reflective e-paper displays equipped with the traditional touch panels will suffer from weakening of contrast, reflection, and opacity. Nevertheless, such problems do not arise for e-paper displays powered by electromagnetic resonance touch panel and photo sensor touch panel technologies.

Driven by growing market demand for these emerging applications, the new touch panel technologies have been successfully commercialized in recent years.

Out-cell Touch Panel Displays Remain Mainstream; Importance of In-cell Touch Products Encroached upon by On-cell Products

Looking at the 42 touch panel display products showcased at SID 2009, it can be seen that the adoption rate of in-cell touch panels has dropped while that of on-cell touch panels has increased, as in-cell touch panels are customized products and cannot compare with on-cell and out-cell touch panels in terms of pricing. Moreover, as the yield rate of TFT-LCD panel production process will be affected by in-cell touch panel technology, FPD makers have therefore hesitated towards adopting in-cell touch panel technology.

Looking ahead to SID 2010, it is forecasted that the share of on-cell touch panels will surpass in-cell touch panels. The main reason behind this development may be that the on-cell touch panel technology does not affect the yield rate of TFT-LCD panels. For the on-cell design, a polarizer is applied to the upper layer of a touch panel, and such a design features even better display performance than out-cell touch panels.

However, in consideration of price tags and cost competitiveness, it is expected that out-cell touch panel displays will remain the most common products at the SID in the next few years.


Research Scope

The annual SID International Symposium, Seminar, and Exhibition organized by the SID (Society for Information Display), attracts many FPD (Flat Panel Display) companies, universities and research institutes from around the world. Participants in the event aggressively show their recent progress in display technology or application products.

This year's SID Display Week 2009 exhibition was held in the US city of San Antonio at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center from May 31 to June 5. MIC (Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute) collected data on technologies presented at the event as well as application products showcased by participating companies in order to provide a better understanding of the latest development trends in display technologies and application products.

MIC collected data on 340 FPD products showcased at by 14 companies at SID 2009, examining multi-year trends among technologies and application products.

MIC identified six key technologies and applications with the most potential impact on the industry's future development, including: e-paper display, AM-OLED display, touch panel display, 3D display, LCD TV display, mobile phone display.

Technology Summary

As there is a distance of approximately 6.5 cm between the left eye and right eye, the visual data received by the two eye retinas differs slightly due to differences in viewing angle. There are specific cells in the retina which are responsible for visual signals, including rods and cones. These are responsible for transforming light brightness and colors into optic nerve signals. The brain combines the two different viewing angle data to create a sense of depth. This leads to 3D visual effects for human eyes.

Real 3D visual effects are created through two types of parallax effects: binocular parallax and motion parallax. Binocular parallax functions as described above: different viewing angles of the right eye and left eye lead to different visual information received by the two eyes. These two sources of visual information are combined in the brain to form 3D effects. As for motion parallax, due to viewing angle changes as a result of motion, the received visual content is also constantly changing. The two sources of information are also combined by the brain and made into 3D visual effects.

By using either one of these two parallax effects, human eyes can experience 3D when viewing objects. If a 3D display features the two types of parallax effects, this can be defined as autostereoscopic display.

Therefore, if companies aim to create 3D visual effects for flat-panel displays, through parallax element technology each pixel on the display can be enabled to operate through parallax elements, and be able to modulate light brightness, colors and direction. This can enable the image data received by the left eye and right eye to form 3D effects due to viewing angle differences. The modulation of brightness and colors can determine the color resolution of a display. The direction of lights can determine the viewing zone space resolution.

Regarding flat-panel 3D displays with parallax technology, the strength of its display features relies on display pixels' modulation capabilities for brightness, colors and directions.


Glossary of Terms



Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Display



Amorphous Silicon Thin Film Transistor LCD



Low Temperature Poly-Silicon Thin Film Transistor LCD



Continuous Grain Silicon Thin Film Transistor LCD



Super Twisted Nematic LCD






Organic Light Emitting Diode



Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode



Passive Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode






Optically Compensated Bend



Gradient Index



Microelectro Mechanical System



Public Information Display



Flat Panel Display

List of Companies











Hitachi Displays



iRex Technologies



ITI Techmedia



Kent Display






LED Design



LG Display
























TMD (Toshiba Mobile Display)






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