At a recent conference hosted by DisplaySearch, a presentation by a Corning representative made an interesting point about how often consumers replace their old television sets. In the old days of analog broadcasts and CRTs, the replacement cycle was about nine years. We then had the digital broadcast transition and the advent of more affordable flat panel TV sets, and people replaced their CRTs in record numbers. But recent studies now show that U.S. consumers are replacing their LCD TVs about every 6 years on average, which is only two-thirds the time that we used to see for CRT to CRT replacement.
Yes, these are not the old analog CRTs that are getting the boot; we’re replacing the earlier LCD models. Now, I suspect that the steady drop in prices now encourages consumers to replace those early models with larger ones, or ones with more current features. I expect that the old set is probably getting moved to a different room and continues to see service. Still it’s interesting to see how quickly the new ones are being purchased.
Corning added some insight to these results. The company predicts that by 2014, nearly as many LCD TVs will be purchase to replace other LCDs as will be bought to replace CRTs. Add that to the growing demand for flat panel sets from developing countries such as China and India, and we can expect to see demand for LCD flat panels — and the glass that Corning makes for them — to continue to grow.