Sluggish TV Sales Create Huge Glut of LCD Panels

Lower-than-expected flat-screen TV sales worldwide have created a glut in liquid-crystal display (LCD) panels that's unlikely to dissipate anytime soon, even with the release of new products such as 3-D TVs, according to two separate reports released this week.

Global manufacturers shipped 98.8 million LCD panels during the first half of the year, while only 76.2 million LCD sets were shipped, indicating an overage of 30%, iSuppli said in a report yesterday. Such widening inventory has caused panel makers to drop prices to near-cost level, according to iSuppli.

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The lack of demand caused LCD TV prices, which had risen in July, to fall in August. Prices are expected to keep falling this month. Last week, DisplaySearch reported that second-quarter North American TV sales fell 3% from a year earlier after increasing 1% in the first quarter, indicating that Americans remain conservative about spending.

Those hoping that the expected influx of 3-D TV sets will be a shot in the arm for the industry may be disappointed. About two-thirds of consumers surveyed in a Nielsen poll released on Sept. 9 said they were less than likely to buy a 3-D TV within the next year, with 68% saying they're concerned about the cost and 57% indicating that having to wear special 3-D glasses would be a turn-off.