December 3, 2006
LCD Selling Power Continues Growing as Flat Panel TVs Become the Top Seller

According to a study cited by James Hibberd with TelevisionWeek, flat panel television screens are now the most popular televisions in North America. According to a new study by DisplaySearch which was made public last Monday more than 50 percent of televisions now sold in North America are flat panel televisions, with some of the more expensive television sets being the most popular.

Kiyoshi Takenaka with Reuters points out that "it is technologically difficult and often costly for plasma makers to give a full high-definition function to models with a screen size of less than 50 inches, while LCD TV makers are aggressively promoting full HD models in that segment although prices are generally higher" and quotes one analyst as predicting that, "with little price difference, most people would choose LCD TVs because of their higher resolution."

The competition is particularly growing because LCD makers are now aggressively targeting the larger television market that had been a stronghold of plasma TV makers. Back in August, Moon Ihlwan with BusinessWeek wrote, "The popularization of big, thin-screen TVs is happening thanks largely to aggressive expansion by LCD panel makers in Korea, Taiwan and Japan. This year, both Korea-based LG.Philips LCD and Samsung, the world's two largest LCD panel makers, began mass production at new plants that produce bigger glass sheets, allowing technicians to carve out more and bigger panels for TVs and computer monitors."

Hibberd also points out that the competition between LCD flat panels and plasma flat panels is quickly getting closer. Plasma growth is 38 percent in North America, with LCD growth in sales 35 percent, and plasma sales have been down in every other region of the world from quarter-to-quarter. Along with Hibberd's note that this month's Consumer Reports ranks five LCD panel televisions as "excellent" in picture quality, but no plasma screens.

"The whole plasma-LCD war does have a major upside for consumers," Hibberd said. "With plasma manufactures (sic) struggling to make their sales goals, discounts have been steep this holiday season, with brand-name sets down sharply from even a couple months ago."

DisplaySearch also reports that Samsung is the top distributor of television units globally.