Market Insight

Manufacturing cost of mini-LED backlighting LCD still too high to compete with conventional displays

October 25, 2018

Jimmy Kim, Ph.D. Jimmy Kim, Ph.D. Senior Principal Analyst, Display Materials & Components

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Mini-LED backlighting liquid crystal displays (LCDs) have emerged as a cost-effective solution to micro-LED displays. However, their cost is still considered much higher than conventional displays such as LCDs and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels. 

Earlier this year, Innolux showcased 10.1-inch 1540x720 automotive display, the world’s first mini-LED backlighting LCD prototype. Its total manufacturing cost is estimated to be about $200, according to the Display Backlight Market Tracker by IHS Markit. In comparison, the material cost of LED chips alone is higher than $400 to manufacture a 10.1-inch high-definition (HD) micro-LED display.

However, the manufacturing cost of mini-LED backlighting looks much higher than conventional LCD or even OLED panels, which cost $23 and $37, respectively. It costs about 10 times to make a mini-LED backlighting than LCD and about six times to make an OLED panel.Unlike micro-LED displays, mini-LED backlighting does not need to have the same number of LED chips as total number of display pixels. This helps reduce the LED chip manufacturing cost and ultimately the module cost of the mini-LED backlighting LCD, and improves the yield rate.

LED chips still play a key role in the cost reduction of mini-LED backlighting LCDs as the LED chip accounts for the majority in total manufacturing cost. Many of new mini-LED backlighting LCDs are known to use much smaller number of LED chips. 

The Display Backlight Market Tracker by IHS Markit covers the entire value chain for thin-film transistor (TFT) LCD backlight units (BLUs). It covers backlight shipments, relationships among BLU, panel, LED and other component makers, new technological developments and industry news, as well as trends in prices, supply/demand and cost structures.

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