Samsung LCD chief predicts 100-inch TV screens

BOSTON — Taking his cue from Alvin Toffler, Samsung Electronics' LCD President and CEO Sang-Wan Lee boldly predicted Tuesday (May 24) a “third wave” of liquid-crystal display development that would propel annual flat-panel LCD TV sales to 100 million by 2010 and yield screen sizes exceeding 100 inches.

Speaking at the keynote session for the Society of Information Display Conference here, Lee said the goals were achievable, considering the obstacles LCD technology has cleared over the past decade.

“LCD technology continues to break all size assumptions,” said Lee. “Size should no longer be considered an issue.”

Lee described how the first wave of LCD development enabled mobile computing, while the second wave allowed LCDs to replace CRTs as the dominant monitor display. He said he expected the LCD TV wave to “last a long time”.

Revealing an ambitious roadmap for LCD TVs, Lee called for the industry to standardize on 32-, 40-, 46-, 52- and 57-inch screens for TVs, 26- and 32-inch screens for smaller TVs, and 23-inch screens for personal TVs. Screens 80 inches and larger would be used for applications like public information displays.

Though the industry is just now bringing online generation 7 fabs, Lee said generation 9 production would allow fabricating six 57-inch panels from a single substrate. He did not elaborate on when this would happen.

Lee said Samsung was working on next-generation fab concepts, and creating a central production complex that would centralize both fab and component production to ease supply-chain logistics.

To achieve these milestones, Lee said the industry needs to first achieve the goal of a $1,000, 32-inch screen. Reducing material cost, which he estimated accounts for 75 percent of the manufacturing cost of an LCD panel, is the the key to reachikng these milestones.

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