Worldwide shipments of LCD TVs hit 734,000 in the first quarter, up 223 percent from the first quarter of last year, according to market research firm DisplaySearch.The LCD TV growth rate for the first quarter is as high as it is partly because DisplaySearch added a new product category to its data. For the first time, the research firm included multifunction monitors that are sold through information technology distribution channels, which include stores such as CompUSA and the computer section of Best Buy. Multifunction monitors can be used as either a TV or a computer monitor. Excluding these monitors, the growth rate was 183 percent.
Sharp remained the leading LCD TV brand, with a 43 percent market share, followed by Samsung with a 20 percent share and Sony with a 6.4 percent share, according to DisplaySearch. The figures are for TVs with screens 10 inches or more in diagonal width.
LCD technology allows for very thin TVs compared with traditional cathode-ray tube TVs. Another way to make flat-panel TVs is withtechnology. DisplaySearch estimates that about 156,000 plasma TVs were shipped in the first quarter.
Despite their increasing popularity, LCD TVs remain a small fraction of the overall TV market. About 170 million TVs are shipped annually, according to Ross Young, president of DisplaySearch.
Young says the rapid growth in LCD TV sales stems from factors that include greater familiarity with the products and demand for them in places where space is limited such as Japan. He expects to see the growth continue, partly because display panel suppliers are pouring money into new factories for the TV market.
"We're really at the beginning," Young said.
DisplaySearch expects second-quarter shipments of LCD TVs to rise 20 percent over the first quarter, to 882,000 units.
The other devices that factor in DisplaySearch's overall market figure are "pure" LCD TVs and multifunction monitors that are sold through consumer electronics distribution channels, which include stores such as Sears and the TV section of Circuit City. These multifunction monitors do not feature an integrated TV tuner but typically include a video input to allow cable or satellite hookup, as well as an input for PC use.