Global Market for Displays in AR, VR and MR to Reach US$4.6 Billion by 2034, Says IDTechEx

Augmented Reality

Global Market for Displays in AR, VR and MR to Reach US$4.6 Billion by 2034, Says IDTechEx

Sam Dale, Technology Analyst

Author: Sam Dale, Technology Analyst at IDTechEx

Spatial computing promises to transform the way people interact with their devices as computing goes truly 3D, with early signs of change already underway. While Apple’s upcoming Vision Pro is bringing new excitement to this space, gaming-focused VR (Virtual Reality) headsets from companies including Meta, Sony, and Pico have sold in the millions. AR (Augmented Reality) glasses from Vuzix, Microsoft, and more have also found a valuable place in the industry. Display systems are make-or-break here, and for these devices to march towards uniquity, substantial development is required in this area.

IDTechEx’s latest report, “Displays for Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality 2024-2034: Forecasts, Technologies, Markets“, untangles the web of panel technologies that form the heart of these head-mounted display (HMD) systems. It explores the industry’s most-hyped technologies, including micro-LED, OLED-on-silicon (also known as micro-OLED), and laser beam scanning, while paying careful attention to its current workhorses, such as LCDs and LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon). Seven key panel technologies are analyzed in detail, from their technical backgrounds to supply chain players. Benchmarking pits these display types against each other and assesses their suitability for different XR (eXtended Reality) devices. Granular 10-year forecasts explain how the market is predicted to evolve, with a CAGR of 11% towards a market value of US$4.6 billion in 2034 expected.


Meeting Display Requirements in XR Offers Tough Challenges

Display panel technologies in AR. Source: IDTechEx


Display panel technologies in VR. Source: IDTechEx

Displays are a key limiting technology for AR, alongside the optics they are seen through, which are typically very inefficient. Displays, therefore, need to be very bright, particularly when headsets are intended for outdoor use, but also power-efficient, high pixel-density, compact, and acceptably priced all in one package. The field of view (FoV – the amount of the wearer’s vision covered by virtual content) affects display requirements.

Wide FoV devices, which typically are capable of MR (Mixed Reality – where overlaid virtual content interacts with real objects), need to focus most strongly on image quality, with brightness and color rendition being particularly important. Things may look easier for narrow FoV (<30°) devices since frequently only basic text and notification content need to be displayed, and full color may not even be required, but this fails to consider how lightweight and compact the display system must be to allow these devices to be worn for long periods. Minimizing power consumption is potentially even more important for this since the alternate choice is a bulky battery or an unusably short battery life.

In VR headsets, upgraded high-resolution, high-contrast display systems can give a strong competitive edge and provide more immersive experiences. Here, the rise of passthrough MR, where cameras pass a view of the real world to the wearer, is upping the importance of shrinking display systems down so that the cameras may be placed closer to the position of the eyes, as well as making headsets more compact.

With all the technological challenges in place, it is no wonder that a huge range of display technologies are finding use in AR and VR headsets, as outlined in the graphic. IDTechEx forecasts these to be the key technologies serving the XR display market for the next decade and predicts the adoption of each panel type in VR, narrow FoV AR, and wide FoV AR devices. In the further future, XR display technologies may evolve to solve the vergence-accommodation conflict (the mismatch between perceived and focal distance for objects in stereoscopic display systems): IDTechEx’s report also outlines progress toward “true 3D” displays to solve this issue.

Photo by Sara Kurig on Unsplash





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