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Global TV Shipments Rise, Fall in North America

6 Oct, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Worldwide shipments of high-definition televisions this year will increase more than 16% to 243 million units from 209 million units in 2009, despite ongoing sluggish North American sales, according to a new report.

Research firm DisplaySearch in Santa Clara, Calif., said global shipments of LCD TVs are expected to grow 29% to 188 million units from 145 million units in 2009, underscored by strong growth in Japan, Europe and emerging markets such as China.

The report said LCD remains the dominant TV technology worldwide, accounting for at least 50% of all TV shipments. Although sales from the soccer World Cup were disappointing in Europe, and the resulting excess inventory at the end of summer will slow growth in the second half, growth in other markets like Japan, China, Latin America and Asia Pacific will offset this weakness and contribute to 20% year-over-year increase during the second half of 2010.

“Continued economic pressure, mostly in the form of high unemployment and a weak housing market, have combined with a sharp slowdown in the pace of average price erosion have pushed consumers to the sidelines as they wait for the economy to improve, prices to fall further, or both,” said Paul Gagnon, director of North America TV research for DisplaySearch.

The report expects LED LCD TVs to account for the majority of LCD TV shipments in 2011, as cost premiums decline and manufacturers continue to transition their LCD TV lineups away from older CCFL technology. More than 50% of LCD TV shipments will be based on LED backlight technology in 2011, up from 20% in 2010.

Significantly, demand for plasma TV continues to be robust, as LCD TV price declines have slowed while plasma TV prices continue to fall. The result is that plasma TV shipments are now expected to approach 18 million units in 2010, a 25% increase from 2009.

Sales of plasma TVs are seen crucial to the success of bringing 3D technology to the home, according to the report.

“Because of the very strong pricing advantage of large screen sizes and large improvements in power consumption and thinness, plasma TV continues to be a key display technology in the TV category, especially among a base of fans that favor this technology for picture quality and 3D performance,” said Hisakazu Torii, VP of TV research.

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