Originally Posted by irkuck
Unable to get to the depth of your thinking
. Point is 10G is doing 70" very efficiently which translates into price which others are unable to match. For the 80", 10G is of no help so I think instead of mixing diferent sizes Sharp refurbished old plant to stamp 2 panels from single sheet. Indication for this is that 80" panels have no yellow subpix.
The point is Sharp is doing 70-inch panels reasonably efficiently enough that they can sell them at $3000 retail.
The further point is, we all agree that some economies of scale are achieved by larger motherglass -- as evidenced by every fab ever being larger than the previous generation.
What you've never proved is that there is something magically about the litho stage on running 6 large 70" panels off a single sheet vs. some combination of panels or whatever.
And the new Sharp 80" belies the claim that there is something magical about producing 6 vs. 2. Furthermore, given LG's abysmal sales this year, if they really wanted to, they could easily do the same thing as Sharp. They were already using a far from state of the art panel in their 72" (that they still can't / won't make generally available and I can accurately speculate on why again, but reality is that it sucks and they've "proved" to themselves there is no market for by pricing it stupidly). No reason they can't also use their 40" lines to make 80s.
Fact is Samsung and LG have always sucked at making big panels. They still suck at it. Sharp -- which had a 65" years ago when no one else could mass produce a 60" -- actually knows how to make big LCDs. This isn't a function of some fab magic, it's a function of actually having whatever kinks are there worked out to make this stuff. It's not shocking that Sharp continues to be able to produce big panels and -- looking back -- it's not really shocking that they made the move to 70" with so much aggressiveness. What's shocking is that LG and Samsung have again failed to even answer the call at 65". (Samsung shipping what appears to be last year's panel with some new window dressing and charging a premium price for a low-end set notwithstanding.)
For what it's worth, I agree with Spec that Sharp appears to be hedging. But a big part of that is probably that you can't not hedge when one of your big customers for the small screens is going to be Apple. At one point this year, they basically cut off LG as a supplier to the iPad 2 because of backlight issues (light leakage/flashlighting was occurring way too often). The way Apple is buying components is fascinating right now. They are probably already in contract with Sharp for millions of screens and have made some significant cash payments up front. But there is no doubt they also have the right to certain targets on quality, quantity, etc. with guarantees of future payment contingent on meeting those.
If Sharp delivers the goods for Apple, then they will be in good stead on the smaller panels for some years to come. If not, honestly, the move toward retrofitting old lines will fail because they'll be competing with everyone again for the rest of the market (non Apple) which buys almost 100% on price. I like their chances, but we'll see.
Finally, the fact that the giant sheets cutting in 16 40" panels is not a winner is not news. We've heard that before. There is a point at which the additional steps to cut up the glass reduce the efficiency of the fab. Whether that's due to the inevitable breakage that occurs with cutting -- and there is some -- or some other aspect of the process is something I'm unclear on. But there is a diminishing returns on cutting up a sheet into smaller pieces. This again points out that there are many steps involved and the notion that magically patterning 6 of something on a sheet without any other patterning is the sole reason Sharp has economies of scale on 70" panels is simply wrong.