Display optical films are thin multilayered films coated on various substrates including glass, plastics, polymers, and metals. These films improve light transmissivity and reduce reflection. Commercial polymers can be selected to achieve the desired colors in optical display films. LCD display of IPad, laptops, and cell phones appears clear, bright, and crisp due to the usage of display optical films. These films also help reduce battery consumption, thereby allowing the use of devices for longer hours. Optical films with high moisture resistance, heat resistance, and optical durability against the bending and curving of display devices are being developed, particularly for the flexible display market.
Increasing popularity of electronic devices coupled with rising use of optically coated glass is expected to augment the market during the forecast period. Sales of LCD component material films have also risen for smartphones and tablet terminals, led by the increase in demand for large liquid crystal TV with high resolution. However, with technology advancements, LCD screens can be replaced with active matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) screens in TVs. This is expected to hamper the display optical film market.
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Based on type, the display optical film market can be segmented into polarizer protection films, AR (anti-reflective) and AG (anti-glare) films, hard coated films, and Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) Films. Polarizer protection films are usually smooth in finish and also controls light coming from display. They are often used in conjunction with prism and reflector films.
Key applications of display optical films are TFT LCDs, including PVA, production films, COP, PSA, diffuser, reflector, light guide plate, micro lens films, BEF/DBEF, prism sheet, and multi-functional films.
Introduction of advanced optical films technology involves the development of new materials and processing skills to highlight optical properties of displays and optoelectronic devices such as augmenting brightness, widening viewing angles, and lower reflection. Currently, commercial liquid crystal displays (LCDs) are fortified with various optical films including polarizing films for light shuttering, compensation films for wide viewing, low-reflection coating films, and brightness-enhancing films. Other display applications such as Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are also equipped with anti-reflection films in order to provide clear display images. Furthermore, optical films are used for solar cell devices, where anti-reflection films are used to increase light conversion efficiency.
In terms of geography, the global display optical film market can be classified into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific dominated the global market, led by China, in 2016. This can be ascribed to the increase in demand for LCD televisions, smartphones, tablet PCs, and laptops in the region. Expansion of local production facilities by manufacturers of flat panel display and related materials is expected to drive the market in China. Additionally, factors such as large population and developing economy are boosting the market for consumer electronic goods in Asia Pacific.
Prominent players manufacturing display optical films include Toray Industries, Inc., Toyobo Co., Ltd., Teijin Limited, and Mitsubishi Polyester Film GmbH.