Top Display Technology Trends at CES 2019
CES 2019 has just begun on January 8th with new technologies on show, among which display technology has always been one of the highlights. In addition to Micro LED and 8K TV, some “softer” display products like foldable phones and rollable TVs are also in the spotlight this year. TrendForce has summarized the key trends in CES 2019 for you!
8K TV expect fierce competition and integration
The TV industry has moved towards the era of ultra-high resolution and better image quality, with the emergence of 8K TV in the market that creates new business opportunities. 8K content will also be broadcast during the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Manufacturers have been working hard to explore the 8K TV market. LG develops both 8K OLED TVs and 8K LCD TVs, while Samsung features 8K QLED TV. For most manufacturers who are more conservative, the size of an 8K TV is normally 80 inch or larger, but Samsung adopts a more comprehensive product line, ranging from 62 inch to 98 inch.
The biggest problem with the popularity of 8K TV is the lack of high resolution content. Samsung, Sony and LG all apply self-developed AI algorithm to recognize the content, regardless of the original quality, and then upgrade the content resolution to nearly 8K by simulation.
In addition to the pursuit of better image quality, manufacturers also pay more attention to the immersive experience of TV in combination with sound and light effects. They even try to make the TV more intelligent by establishing a complete ecosystem. LG optimized the Crystal Sound technology released in 2017 that makes sounds with vibration of OLED screen rather than speaker. The 8K TV exhibited by LG at CES this year has already been equipped with Dolby Atmos sound. On the other hand, Sony also emphasizes sound quality with its self-developed algorithm and four speakers in TV. The high-end 8K TVs launched by Samsung, LG and Sony will all support Apple AirPlay 2; Samsung and LG TV will also integrate Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Although 8K has dominated the TV announcements at CES this year, the software and hardware for 8K TV still remain in the early stage of development. The commercialization of 8K technology will not be in large scale this year, with only a few leading brands to launch relevant products. WitsView, a division of TrendForce, estimates that the market share of 8K TV is only 0.2% this year, and will not have a chance to reach 10% until 2022.
Samsung unveiled the latest modular Micro LED display at First Look CES event in Las Vegas. The modular design of Samsung’s Micro LED display offers flexibility in screen size, allowing users to customize the size and shape of displays by splicing. Moreover, Samsung’s Micro LED technology optimizes the resolution when more modules are added to a display.
Compared to “The Wall” that Samsung exhibited at CES 2018, the chip size of the new 75-inch Micro LED display is 1/15 smaller and its PPI (pixels per inch) is four times more, says LEDinside, a division of TrendForce.
LEDinside notes that the chips used in the 75-inch Micro LED display were supplied by Taiwan-based PlayNitride. The Micro LED chips were transferred to glass backplanes through Samsung’s mass transfer technology to achieve the Micro LED TV. PlayNitride has showcased its small sized Micro LED displays of 3.12-inch and 5-inch at CES this year. The other 3.12-inch display is with a resolution of 256*256, consisting of 786 thousands Micro LED chips. The five-inch display is featured with transparency whose penetration rate could reach 50 percent. The resolution of the display is 350*170 with more than 180 thousands chips in one module.
Flexible panel applications emerge
Flexible panel applications have seen emerging business opportunities recently. Royole, a China-based startup, has launched its single-screen foldable smartphone at the end of 2018, and presented the new model to the public in CES 2019. The Royole foldable smartphones have now been available for pre-order online. Samsung has launched Infinity Flex previously, while LG, Huawei and BlackBerry are also said to plan on launching foldable smartphones.
WitsView notes that manufacturers are bound to improve the designs of foldable smartphones continuously, although the production capacity of flexible OLED panels is already available. It is believed that the initial demand for foldable smartphones will not be very strong, considering the need for product optimization, lack of flexible AMOLED panel suppliers other than Samsung, and the looming demand in the market. The segment of foldable smartphones will not have a chance to expand until the second half of 2019 or after 2020, when more manufacturers follow suit to launch foldable models and get more feedback from the market. Foldable smartphones are expected to account for only 0.1% in the global smartphone market in 2019, and the penetration rate is estimated to reach 1.5% in 2021.
2019 CES also witnesses breakthroughs in the specs development of large-size flexible panels. LG shows off the world’s first rollable OLED TV, the LG Signature OLED TV R. It can be operated in three modes, including Full View mode, Line View mode, and Zero View mode. Full View mode enables large-screen viewing experience, Line View can fit into existing household setting, while the TV is hidden in Zero View.