WitsView Reports: CPT, HannStar, and Innolux Should Team Up

WitsView, a market research company based in Taiwan, suggests in a report that second tier display manufacturers in Taiwan should work together and form a strategic alliance. These panel suppliers are Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT), HannStar Display Corp. and Innolux Display Corp.

CPT, Taiwan, Longtan, Yongmei

In the LCD industry, there is a cycle called the Crystal Cycle that provides LCD suppliers a tremendous profits and excrutiatingly painful losses. The largest panel suppliers such as Samsung, AU Optronics (AUO) and LG.Philips LCD (LPL) have been able to weather downturns quite well while the smaller manufacturers have not. This has changed to some extent with LPL reporting record losses in the second quarter of 2006, but in general, the smaller you are, the harder it is to weather the downturns. By forming a strategic alliance, as suggested by Witsview, the CPT, HannStar and Innolux might be able to endure downturns with strength.

Source: Taipei Times

Acer Aspire 9800: 20.1″ Notebook PC Now Shipping

Back in April, Acer announced its Aspire 9800, the second notebook to have a HD-DVD drive…

I’m not sure exactly when Dell’s 20″ notebook, the M2010, became available, but the folks at NotebookReview is claiming that Acer, with its Aspire 9800, is the first to hit the market with a 20″ notebook. Since they are the experts, I’m sure they are right. I blogged about Dell’s M2010 and thought the screen resolution was a bit low at only 1680 x 1050. Well, the Aspire 9800 has the same resolution on a large 20″: 1680 x 1050. That is just too low! You can’t even watch 1080p (though there isn’t that much 1080p content at the moment) or play games at 1920 x 1200. Just terrible. The HD-DVD option would be simply wasted on a less-than-Full HD screen. At a price estimated to be around $2600, this is really not a great multimedia offering.
Other specifications are a bit better:

-Intel Core Duo CPU
-nVidia GeForce Go 7600 GPU w/256MB
-DVD-D connectivity
-240GB HDD (120GB x 2)
-“Superdrive” or HD-DVD
-For more specs: NotebookReview

LG Electronics to Transfer OLED Business to LG.Philips LCD

LG Electronics (LGE) owns 37% of LG.Philips LCD (LPL). LGE operates two Passive Matrix OLED (PMOLED) lines in Gumi, South Korea, where most of LPL’s TFT LCD fabs are located. Since 1999, LGE has invested over $200 million to develop its OLED business. LGE’s two PMOLED lines have a 2-3 million per year production capacity.

To focus investments toward display manufacturing, LGE is in negotiations to transfer its PMOLED business to LPL. I think it’s a good move. Once the transfer is finalized, LPL will need to update the PMOLED lines to a more advanced Active Matrix OLED (AMOLED) technology, which LPL has been developing. The technology update will take some time. However there is still a snatch: LPL does not have good capabilities to modularize small panels and have been using LG Innotek and others to do so. Although AMOLED display shipments will be low, the added cost of logistics and administration will give LPL a disadvantage as long as it does not build its LCD module capacity for small displays.

Source: EETimes

Sharp G10 TFT LCD Fab

Sharp is considering investing toward a G10 TFT LCD fab. The G10 fab would cost roughly 500 billion yen (or US$4.3 billion) and if Sharp goes ahead with its plan, construction will start in the third quarter of 2007 and about 9 months to a year later will hit mass production around mid-2008. The glass size would be 2,850mm x 3,050mm and would focus on 57″ (eight cuts) and 65″ (six cuts) LCD TV panels.

That is a lot of money to invest toward a market segment (57″-65″) that is really tiny. Of course, it is tiny now, but maybe would be large enough in 2009 to justify a US$4+ billion investment. The possibility of a 65″ LCD TV with Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080) powered by a LED lightsource for $1999 is tempting indeed. Maybe we can expect resolutions to go higher than 1920 x 1080, something like Apple’s 30″ LCD monitor’s resolution at 2560 x 1600.

When Sharp and other LCD manufacturers like LG.Philips LCD (LPL) and Samsung get into producing 60″-class LCD TVs on their G10 fabs around 2008, I have to wonder how plasma TVs will compete. You still do not have a 1920 x 1080 native pixel resolution plasma TV at the 42″ size.

Source: TG Daily


AmTRAN Technology is an integrator in Taiwan and has its own brand: Vizio. You might have seen some Vizio-branded LCD TVs at CostCo and Sam’s Club for very affordable prices. Well, Wal-Mart will begin selling the brand too.

AmTRAN came to the US in 2005 with the Vizio brand on its 42″ and 50″ plasma TVs and had success. For instance, for the first month of shipments to the US, its 42″ plasma TV was more than 10,000 units. Now they are turning toward LCD TVs. Small-volume LCD TV shipments to Wal-Mart began in March but volume shipments have started in the second quarter. Vizio-branded 32″ LCD TVs were priced at $999 for Wal-Mart and in the near future will bring out a $1499 price point for its 37″ LCD TVs. In the first quarter of 2006, AmTRAN shipped 50,000 LCD TVs and 30,000 plasma TVs.

Vizio P42HDTV, 42″ plasma TV

In the second half of 2006, AmTRAN is planning for a 42″ and 46″ LCD TV rollout. For the year, AmTRAN is planning a total of 600,000 LCD TVs. For plasma, a Vizio-branded 55″ unit is planned for the second half and a total of 200,000 plasma TVs are planned for 2006.

It’s good to see a no-name brand garnering some success and challenging the old but tired tie between national retailers like Best Buy and brands like Sony.

Source: Taiwan Government, Vizio

New Gateway 22″ LCD Monitors?

Gateway currently has 19″ and 21″ wide LCD monitors. The 19″ wide (FPD1975W) has a 1440 x 900 resolution and is priced at $229.99 on Gateway’s website.

Gateway FPD1975W

Gateway FPD2185W

The FPD2185W, is Gateway’s 21″ wide LCD monitor with 1680 x 1050 resolution and a $499.99 price. That seems to be a pretty wide gap between the two prices. The potential to fill in the gap is very high. But the interesting part is that most likely the gap filler will be a 22″ wide LCD monitor. Why?

Hanns.G, who is an integrator based in Taiwan started shipping samples of 22″ LCD monitor sets to Gateway and Viewsonic in addition to Taiwanese local brands. Hanns.G has stated that new 22″ LCD monitors should hit stores by around August. CMO is also making 22″ wide TFT LCD panels and prices should be cheaper than 20″ or 21″ wide panels because it will be using TN technology, which is cheaper than VA or IPS.

Source: TG Daily

TMDisplay Third LTPS TFT LCD Plant

TMDisplay: Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology, also known as TMDisplay, start construction of its third LTPS TFT LCD plant in April 2005. The Ishikawa Works plant is located in Nomi-gun, Ishikawa Prefecture. It took one year for it to reach mass production and in April 2006, started to manufacture low-temperature poly-silicon (LTPS) LCDs.

According to TMDisplay, input capacity and production yield has been successful. TMDisplay held an opening ceremony for the plant on July 19.  The two other LTPS plants are Fukaya Works located in Fukaya City, Saitama Prefecture while the other AFPD, an affiliated company, is in Singapore. Total capacity, including all three LTPS fabs, is 10 million mobile application panels per month on a 2.2″ panel basis.

The new Ishikawa Works plant has a planned capacity of 5.5 million 2.2″ panels per month by April 2007, or 20,000 sheets per month, and uses glass substrates with 730mm x 920mm dimensions (G4). 0.5mm-thick glass substrates will be used, which are good for mobile applications that require less weight. System On Glass (SOG) technology will be used to integrate peripheral IC and other circuits right on the LCD panel. The company will likely use Optically Compensated Bend (OCB), a fast-switching liquid crystal, to enhance display performance.

Sharp LQ043T3DX04: 4.3″ 16:9 480 x 272

Sony’s PlayStation Portable has created a trend toward 4.3″ wide displays with a 16:9 aspect ratio and 480 x 272 resolution. Sharp has announced a display with the same features, the LQ043T3DX04. It uses Sharp’s wide-viewing technology called Advanced Super View (ASV) providing viewing angles of 160 degrees. Contrast ratio is 400:1, and the unit displays 16.7 million colors. The advanced feature of the LQ043T3DX04 is the use of LED backlighting, instead of the usual CCFL. LED backlights are generally more durable than CCFL but emits more heat. I am assuming Sharp developed a method of managing heat dissipation in LED backlights. The operating temperature has been extended to -20 to +60C with a brightness of 230 cd/m2.

Sharp is planning a touch version of this panel, which would be great for portable multimedia players (PMPs). Samples will be available in September and mass production is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Source: Electronicstalk

Monterey Boats 330 Sport Yacht: Comes with 26″ LCD TV

Monterey Boats unveiled its all-new 330 Sport Yacht measuring 35′ from stem to stem and a comfortable beam of 11’3″. Engine choices range from a 260hp diesel to a 320hp twin-gas. I’m not rich enough to be interested in boats,but this one comes with a 26″ LCD TV. This probably is nothing new to the world of expensive boats and yachts. I wonder what the largest LCD TV installation on a boat is…

Source: Bymnews.com, Boating News

Netgear SPH101: WiFi Skype Phone

Skype backgrounder:  Skype is a service that allows a PC connected to the Internet be used like a phone by using a technology called Voice over IP (VoIP). You can call other Skype users and others and have a conversation. Now, companies such as Netgear, are coming out with devices that let you take that concept to the next level.

Most Skype phones that are available today require a PC. The PC must be on and not hibernating or on standby with Skype running for you to make Skype calls on a Skype phone. Enter Netgear’s SPH101: No PC required. But a WiFi connection is.

The phone is pretty small and weighs only 0.25 lbs (0.11kg), uses WEP & WPA on 802.11b and g networks. Talk time is a scant 2 hours with a 24-hour standby time. I am sure the next version, the SPH102 (?) will have improved talk and standby times. The display seems to be a fairly low resolution (QCIF?) ~2″ CSTN display.
The SPH101 is not cheap. At Amazon.com the unit goes for about $250. Belkin’s F1PP000GN-SK looks very similar but goes for quite a bit less at $180, but is only available for preorder at this time.

Source: Netgear