LG regains worldwide TV crown

Most people are still buying tube sets, which explains why LG is No. 1. Meanwhile, Sharp is tops among LCD TV makers.

South Korea's LG Electronics fought back in the fourth quarter to regain its position as the world's No. 1 TV manufacturer, while Sharp maintained its top spot among LCD television makers.

In the fourth quarter of 2005, LG shipped 5.7 million televisions worldwide, accounting for nearly 11 percent of the market. In the third quarter, LG had slipped from first to third place behind China's TCL-Thomson and Samsung, according to research firm iSuppli.

The improvement in the fourth quarter also allowed LG to emerge as the largest TV manufacturer for last year. For all of 2005, LG's share of global TV sales was 10.2 percent, Samsung's was 9.2 percent, and TCL's was 9.2 percent.

The strength of the three companies varies by geography. LG and Samsung are particularly strong in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East . By contrast, TCL is strong in China and North America, where it owns the RCA brand.

Although many manufacturers are pushing LCD (liquid crystal display) and plasma TVs, traditional CRT (cathode-ray tube) televisions still accounted for 82 percent of shipments in 2005, according to iSuppli.

In LCDs, however, Sharp maintained its top spot with a 17.4 percent market share. Philips, stung by panel shortages , dropped from second place in the third quarter to No. 4. The decline allowed Sony, now No. 2, and Samsung to move up a notch. LG, which co-owns an LCD panel factory with Philips, stayed steady at No. 5.

Meanwhile, in plasma TVs, Panasonic stayed No. 1 , iSuppli said, and Sony kept its No. 1 spot in rear-projection televisions.

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    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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