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HDTVs: Energy-optimizing units cross over to mainstream

With efficiency as a key factor in purchasing decisions, makers are packing more features into low-consumption models.

Flatscreen TVs account for 71 percent of China's aggregate color TV exports, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Output and shipments have grown from 39 and 45 percent, respectively, in 2008.

The TLM42T08GP 42in HDTV from Hisense uses LED backlighting and has a 40,000:1 contrast ratio.
Sustained demand is enabling China suppliers to boost R&D investment, raising product quality significantly. The result is an influx of energy-efficient and environment-friendly models, many with intelligent features. But due to high costs, output of these is currently minimal.


A vertically integrated supply chain will streamline the overhead and facilitate competitive pricing. As an incentive for companies to foray into upstream manufacturing of panels and modules, the China government has instituted financial subsidies and lower import duties on key components.

The immediate target is to set up more LCD lines in the country and increase the number of PDP production facilities, the first of which was established by Changhong.

BOE has started construction on its 6G plant in Hefei in Anhui province. Sharp is eyeing Nanjing, Jiangsu province, for its 6G TFT-LCD segment. BOE's 8G in Beijing, and LG's 7.5G or 8G and CMO's 8.5G, both in Guangdong province, are under negotiations.

Hitachi is set to sell its PDP factory, which has a 1.5 million-unit annual capacity, to the Hefei city administration. The deal includes plasma technology expertise the company accumulated over 30 years.

'Greening' the line
Pushing the technology boundary
'Greening' the line

New rollouts generally comply with RoHS, WEEE, EuP, Energy Star and TCO standards as the environment-friendly trend continues to be a key factor in consumers' purchasing decisions. By 2010, ¡°green¡± displays are likely to account for 45 percent of global share, according to DisplaySearch. The number is projected to rise to 100 percent in 2014.

To this end, suppliers are using LED backlighting as a substitute for CCFLs, which contain mercury and consume more power. Although costlier to make, the former has a broader color range and brighter luminosity. It also has a longer life span, and uses less energy.

China has gained a foothold in the LED TV line, with suppliers such as Hong Kong THTF Co. Ltd, Konka Group Co. Ltd and Skyworth already enriching their selections. Most makers intend to establish upstream manufacturing lines for their own panels.

Hisense will launch 42, 47 and 55in models soon. New entrant Tsinghua Tongfang is set to release 19, 22, 26 and 32in units that are white-LED backlit. Direct backlighting using this diode color is the mainstream but the edge-lit version is best suited to ultraslim form factors. Samsung and Sony adopt the latter in their newest LCD TVs, currently the world's thinnest.

An alternative is the RGB-LED type, which has a higher display resolution. Because it does not require color filters, the diode has lower heat emission and saves up to 85 percent energy.

Despite the advantages, these power-efficient options are technology-intensive and outlay remains inhibitive. LED backlights are at least double the cost of CCFLs. Makers are optimistic, however, that the component will be readily accessible as the line matures. More than 50 percent of all TVs produced four years from now are likely to be LED-backlit, according to DisplaySearch.

For some companies, the greening starts at the subassembly level. Many new models have modules with efficient power supplies such as those from Konka, which use less than 0.5W.

Likewise being introduced are features said to significantly reduce electric bills, including self-adjusting backlight illumination. Others are raising the transmittance and aperture ratios of the LCD panel to maximize power consumption.

Pushing the technology boundary

AMOLED, a self-luminous display, is an even greener option that features optimum energy efficiency because it eliminates the need for backlighting. It is, however, currently too expensive to be used on screens larger than 15in.

Suppliers are likewise pushing the envelope in terms of features. Keeping abreast of foreign counterparts are local makers TCI and SVA, which have launched prototypes of their 3D TVs. The line has two categories. The first requires viewing eyeglasses and is the most common.

The other employs auto-stereoscopic display, much like those adopted in digital photo frames. At the 2009 SINOCES trade fair, TCL presented its 41in flatscreen TV, which renders 2D images 3D. The unit has a 1920¡Á1080-pixel HD resolution, 16.7 million colors, 500cd/m2 brightness and 1,500:1 contrast ratio. The terminal is now installed at the Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport.

Moreover, some companies believe that in 10 to 20 years, holographic 3D TVs will be rolled off China assembly lines. But for now, 95 percent color flat-panel units have the standard LCD.

This article "HDTVs: Energy-optimizing units cross over to mainstream" is originally posted in Global Sources.

Note: All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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