Let's face it: HDTVs just aren't as white-hot as they used to be. And moreover, those who wanted an HDTV, have probably purchased one by now. Of course, the 3D craze is in full swing, but are sales really proving that people are flocking to replace their 2D 1080p set with one that supports 3D? Sharp, along with loads of other companies, is having to make some tough decisions, with the latest surrounding their LCD business.
The company just announced that they'll be restructuring the LCD
business in particular, with the "aim of optimizing its production system for LCD panels." What's this mean? Well, it may not be as negative as it sounds at first. The company's Kameyama Plants #1 and #2 have traditionally been used for large-size LCD production, but demand for those panels has been sinking. In order to combat that, they're shifting production to middle-and-small-size LCDs, for use on smartphones and tablets. The company also seems to think that there's still growth in the 60"+ market, particularly in digital signs and electronic blackboards.
Sharp President Mikio Katayama had this to say: "Panel prices dropped because the growth of the LCD market (for 40-inch and smaller LCD TVs) slowed down. Those circumstances are hurting the profits of most of the major panel makers and LCD TV makers around the globe. On the other hand, the needs for high-resolution LCD panels designed for smartphones and tablet computers are rapidly increasing. By shifting to the field that generates high added value and has a high growth rate, we will retreat from the commodity field that has a low growth potential."
Sounds like a solid plan, but does this spell broader doom for large LCD plants? With the world shifting towards more mobile devices, is there still a vast need for these big screens? We suspect time (and sales figures) will tell, but it's clear that Sharp
's pretty bearish on that.