Is The CRT Doomed?

Is The CRT Doomed? - Part 1

December 18th, 2005
We got into a pretty good discussion over on the highdefforum about the demise, or not, of the CRT. This got my interest up as I had not heard of a pending defunct status for CRTs before. Apparently, there was something up that I had not been exposed to. So I typed in “how many CRT TVs were sold last year?” into askjeeves and was surprised at the number of results that seemed to support the decline of the CRT. Almost cheering on this situation, link after link talked about how PDP and LCD panels were increasing sales at 140 to 150% and generally touting the new technology while predicting doom and gloom for the CRT. Could this be true?

Well guess what? It turns out the facts show a completely different story. Sure LCD sales were up 193% for the 4th quarter when compared to last year’s fourth quarter, but then you are talking about Q4 04 sales of 3,614,000 vs. Q4 05 sales of 6,980,000. The authors skillfully don’t mention that CRT sales dropped from Q4 05 of 54,154,000 to Q4 05 sales of 49,214,000. The point here is direct view CRTs still have 82.2% of the market in Q4 05 down from 89.1% in Q4 04. These figures were taken from a report by DisplaySearch, a market research concern that deals with display market information. For the complete report see:
http://www.displaysearch.com/free/cea_video_div_mtg_101805.pdf.

Now it should be clear that with the LCD displays going from 5.9% to 11.7% of the market, while impressive is a far cry from challenging a technology that is 82% of the market. It is easy to double sales when there are very few units involved. But that does not stop the hype or spin.

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Is The CRT Doomed? - Part 2

December 19th, 2005

According to the same report referenced in the previous post (below) the CRT will remain strong for the remainder of the decade in terms of the quantity of units sold. CRTs will still be the majority of the TVs sold in 2009 with 56.4% down from 84.3% in 2005. While a significant drop in percentage, remember the TV market is still expanding, so the actual numbers of units will still be substantial. What is very interesting though is the revenue change of 57.6% in 2004 to 15.9% in 2009, indicating the prices will continue to drop for CRTs. When will the CRTs eventually cease to be sold? My guess would be somewhere near 2020 with 2015 units sold being somewhere around the 20% range.

Why is it the CRT will hang around so long? In a word: price. There are other issues why CRTs are preferable to other technologies, but that is the main one. Think of all of the waiting rooms, hospital rooms, motel rooms and other venues of the sort. Many sports bars have gone to projectors and plasmas for the featured games, but you will still see CRTs where they have an array to watch every game other game.

And then there is the everyday Joe who is watching his analog 27 inch that goes on the fritz. Chances are he will opt for the cheapest new TV he can find and that will probably be a CRT where even in 2009 it is projected the CRT unit sales will amount to 67% vs. 33% for the LCD in the 25 inch to 29 inch screen size, the target screen size for Joe.

The other big issue other than price is the viewing angle and contrast ratios. Only PDP (plasma) panels can match the CRT in these areas and their size and price will restrict PDP usage in many venues.

Having said all of that, I will add that this is for the North American market. Europe and Japan is a totally different scenario. Expect the CRTs in Europe and Japan to be mostly extinct by the middle of the next decade, if not sooner. Several of the TV manufacturers are dropping CRT production in Europe already and the LCD is already the TV of choice in Japan accounting for a whopping 71.2% of the sales measured by revenue.

Perhaps offsetting the Europeans and Japanese somewhat are the Chinese and the ROW (rest of the world) other than NA, Japan, Europe and China. Currently in China CRTs amount to 60.9% of revenues and in the ROW it is 76.4% so CRTs could linger until well after 2020!

Here is how it will shape up in revenue terms. Rear Projection TVs will be gone by the end of the decade (2009). Micro device based TVs will enjoy very small growth through the rest of the decade still accounting for a small percentage of the market. The largest growth will be in LCD panels followed by PDP panels. Still in 2009, CRTs will have the biggest portion of the market in terms of units sold, but will shrink to 15% in terms of revenue share.

Bottom line is the CRT is going to be with us for quite some time and their demise is greatly exaggerated.

3 Responses to “Is The CRT Doomed?”

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  3. admin Says:

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