WW shipments of large flat-panel displays for commercial market jumped 44% in Q4’05 shipments, rising to 149.7K units shipped WW in the quarter in the recent Quarterly FPD Public Display Shipment and Forecast Report. This was far ahead of forecasted expectations—bolstered by a 56% Q/Q growth in Plasma Public Display shipments. Commercial products benefited from decreased prices caused not only by increased demand for plasma-based flat panels in the commercial market in Q4 but also by increased demand in the consumer TV segment as well. Slightly reduced growth due to supply constraints is expected in the short term, due to the continued high demand for plasma in both the commercial and the consumer sectors, however.

Public Display flat-panel products are available for applications ranging from Flight Information Displays to Board Room Displays to Electronic Menu Boards, but new applications arise almost daily. One of the more highly visible uses for these flat panels is in Digital Signage; an electronic alternative to typical poster-size ads seen in many public venues such as shopping malls, airport corridors and museums. In today’s environment of “instant information” awareness of the growing importance of alterative advertising methods increases daily. This need for more timely and up-to-date information is causing more and more companies to embrace “non-print” advertising methods which allow for more dynamic updates to information also allowing for rich and entertaining content. This recognized need for dynamic signage in public spaces has increased the forecasted outlook for the WW market for large FPD-based (26”+) Public Displays to reach 2.9M units WW by 2010 showing a CAGR of 46.3% from 2005-2010.

In Q4’05, the most popular size and technology for larger flat panel displays for non-consumer applications was once again lower-definition (ED) 42-43”plasma products, which had a market share of 34.8%. Average price points in this category dropped almost 30% from $2,431 in Q2’05 to $1,709 in Q4’05. While price points for LCDs remained high compared to their plasma counterparts, 32” LCD-based Public Displays alone had a 8.1% share of FPD Public Displays shipped in Q4’05, up significantly from just 2.9% in Q1’05. Trends now show plasmas in the 37” and smaller size range starting to take a backseat to production of 32-40” LCD products with plasma still dominating the larger sizes, however.

By growing in viewable image size and achieving lower price points due to economies of scale, LCD-based Public Displays are forecast to overtake plasma as the dominant FPD technology for commercial usage by mid-2007. With the demand for plasma TVs (which use the same core technology as their commercial counterparts) continuing to grow, supplies will be limited in 2006 and into 2007 despite continued production expansion for this technology. Unlike plasma production, however, LCD production continues to grow ahead of booming demand, allowing this technology to become the dominant flat panel technology in the long term. Despite rapid advancements in the development and production of new larger size LCDs (now available commercially as large as 65”), plasma will still hold an edge in the short term not only in pricing but in size as well with product already available in sizes up to 71”.

Table 1: WW Public Display Unit Volume Shipment Share by Technology Forecast







LCD Public Displays (26”+)







PDP Public Displays (32”+)







Total WW FPD Public Displays







Leading participants in the FPD Public Display market such as Pioneer, NEC Solutions Visual Systems, Panasonic and Hitachi have their efforts almost exclusively focused on plasma. Three of the five leading mainstream vendors for flat panel Public Displays—Samsung, LGE and Sony—offer both plasma and LCD-based Public Display products, but NEC Display Solutions and Sharp concentrate solely on LCD-based solutions. For the fastest growing technology of LCDs, NEC Display Solutions was again the leader with a 26.1% share of the total WW market for LCD-based Public Displays in Q4’05. For 2005, LCD products shipped under the NEC brand name (by the joint venture of NEC-Mitsubishi prior to Q2’05 and by NEC Display Solutions from Q2’05 onward) had the top WW share as well, with a 29.8% share. Samsung and LGE were #2 and #3, respectively, in the LCD category for both Q4’05 and 2005. Each shipped more into the world’s largest region for LCD Public Displays, EMEA, than into the NA region for the year. Sharp, a relatively new entrant into the market, shipped some of the largest LCDs specifically designed for the Public Display market in Q4’05 with their 45” and 65” LCDs. Although Sharp was not in the top five for 2005, they were #4 in Q4’05 with a 10.9% share.

Details of the new report, table of contents and ordering information can be found on Electronics.ca Publications' web site. View the report: Quarterly FPD Public Display Shipment and Forecast Report.