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LCD TV shipments down slightly; plasmas fall off cliff in 2012

LCD televisions saw shipments decline for the first time in 2012, down 1 percent compared to the prior year.

Sony Electronics

For the first time ever, LCD television shipments were down in 2012.

During 2012, 203 million LCD TVs shipped worldwide, according to NPD DisplaySearch, representing a 1 percent decline compared to the prior year. The fourth quarter was the only period that saw shipments rise year over year, but it could only muster a 0.6 percent gain.

The LCD market's troubles came in developed markets, where demand fell by 18 percent compared to 2011, according to NPD. Demand was down, the researcher said, because of a continuing weakness in the global economy, as well as very little price erosion -- selling prices fell just 2 percent last year.

As if LCD performance wasn't bad enough, NPD reported that plasma shipments fell off a cliff, dropping 23 percent compared to 2011. All told, 233 million televisions were shipped worldwide last year, a 6 percent decline compared to the 249 million that shipped in 2011.

Despite all of the bad news, there may be a silver lining in the television market this year. In January, NPD said that Ultra HD television shipments will hit 2.6 million this year, up from 63,000 last year.

One other note from NPD's findings: Samsung was the world's top flat-panel maker, scoring 27.7 percent market share last year -- its highest yet. Samsung's 2011 market share ended at 25 percent.