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Average TV display sizes are increasing

Consumers are buying TVs that are, on average, two inches larger in screen size than they were one year ago, according to NPD DisplaySearch's Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database.

The average TV panel diagonal has increased from 34.8 inches in August 2011 to 36.8 inches in August 2012. Sharp has the highest average screen size of TV panels shipped, which grew significantly in the past year, increasing from 39.1 to 48.3 inches. Most other panel makers saw an increase of approximately two inches in screen size demand over the past year. AUO increased from an average of 34.4 to 36 inches for TVs shipped, BOE from 29.9 to 32.7 inches, Chimei Innolux from 30.9 to 33.6 inches, LG Display from 36.2 to 38.9 inches and Samsung from 37 to 39.4 inches.

Consumers are going larger when they upgrade. "Many consumers in North America originally had a 32-inch LCD TV in their bedroom and a 40-50 inch set in their living room, and are upgrading to a 39- or 40-inch in their bedroom and a 50-inch or larger set for the living room," said DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh.

And, there's more choice in the market, so viewers can now move from 26W to 29W, from 37W to 39W, from 46/47 to 50 inch, and from 55 to 60 inch, as opposed to making the bigger leaps that were the only options even two years ago.

Also, LCD TV brands are promoting larger sizes in order to preserve profit margins.

"With the year-end, many promotions will be launched, such as the rumored 60 inch LCD TV for $999 on Black Friday," said Hsieh. "With such attractive prices on large size LCD TVs, we can expect other consumers to migrate to larger sizes, further driving increases in average screen size."

Meanwhile, overcapacity in the TFT LCD industry remains an ongoing concern for panel makers overall. Capacity expansions have been slowing down, with few new investments in Korea, Taiwan and Japan. At the same time, the shift to new technologies (such as LTPS, oxide TFT and AMOLED) and production difficulties with some high-end panels like IPS, thin and light, 4Kx2K, high resolution and ultra-slim notebook PC panels, continue to limit available supply.

So, increasing average screen size for TV panels has become an important factor in bringing supply and demand into balance is area growth, Hsieh said.

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