Industry analyst says LCD R&D has essentially ended

Mike Wheatley

The display industry’s top manufacturers have essentially given up on LCD, according to industry observer Bob Raikes. The DSCC analyst wrote in Display Daily that display technology manufacturers are no longer running any major research and development projects aimed at improving LCD TV panels.


For years, LCD displays have used either VA or IPS panels, but very little development work has been done on the core liquid crystals.

There have been some improvements regarding picture quality and performance, with Quantum Dots and Mini-LED displays emerging in recent years. However, these updates were focused on other components, such as the LED backlights. It’s likely these technologies will continue to evolve.

However, Merck, which supplies much of the liquid crystal materials used by the panel making industry, has reportedly said it is no longer researching any improvements in this area.

Raikes explained that he asked Merck at this year’s SID Display Week event about what it was doing to improve liquid crystal materials for LCD displays. “They told me that they have no major R&D for LC materials in larger displays, although there is some work with reactive mesogens in the VR/AR field,” Raikes wrote. “They are developing LCs for privacy windows and antennas, but they told us that there is no pull from clients’ for significant development in LC materials."

Merck’s most recent advancement in LCD display technology was IPS Black, which was developed for BOE and LG Display and announced last year.

The admission from Merck that it’s no longer looking at how to advance LCD displays comes at a time when major display manufacturers are shifting their focus to newer technologies, such as OLED and MicroLED. Samsung Display and LG Display have abandoned, or are very close to abandoning, LCD manufacturing. Instead, they have left the LCD panel industry in the hands of Chinese manufacturers. However, even the Chinese, who can make LCD panels much more cost-effectively than their Korean rivals, are now turning their attention to OLED and other more exotic display technologies.

LCD TVs will likely still be around for some years to come, but it seems that there is now a limit to how long the technology will persist, having dominated the industry for years after displacing cathode ray tubes and plasma screen technologies.