Why is this not the best time to buy a TV?

Televisions have probably been the technological product that has been devalued the most in recent years. Increasingly diagonal models and at better prices, as a result of the combination of excess stock with fierce competition.

However, in recent months we are seeing how the situation is changing. The crisis derived from the pandemic that we are suffering has caused the closure of factories or the limitation of their production and, in particular, of a small essential component for the operation of an LCD: the display driver.

Televisions (such as monitors, cell phones, laptops, and just about anything with a screen) include a chip that tells the panel how it should light up to display the desired image. In this Bloomber article they explain the almost of Himax, one of the main producers of display drivers that makes designs for companies such as TSMC and United Microelectronics, already overflowing with hundreds of orders for all kinds of electronic components.

Display drivers they are not expensive chips (its cost barely exceeds the dollar) or complex (they are still at 16 nanometers) but their scarcity is causing a perfect storm in the TV market. According to IDC, 55-inch panels have gone from $ 95 at the end of the year to $ 206 this month. One of 65 goes from 156 to 260 and, even smaller diagonals such as 49 or 50 have seen their price double in less than 12 months.

As you can imagine, to the problem of decrease in supply we have to add that of excess of demand. We are more time at home and more and more users decide to change the television in the living room for a larger one or buy a second television to play or enjoy multimedia content in another room.

The direct consequence for the user is an increase in the average price of televisions in any inch and lack of stock in the novelties. In fact, giants like Samsung or LG have stalled their plans to abandon the LCD in favor of alternatives like OLED or MicroLED.

Also, the problem it is more noticeable in the LCD because they are the most manufactured and the kings of the entry-level range, but it is also affecting and will affect televisions and other high-end devices; as soon as manufacturers have no guarantee of supply of these chips they will have to pay more and more expensive and, consequently, prices will rise and the available supply will decrease. Obviously, making a Sony OLED of more than 2,000 euros is much more profitable than a simple LCD of less than 400.

It’s still too early to know when will it be resolved the problem, but as with other tech products, maybe it’s time to put up with your “old” TV if you want to save money.

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