Analysis: HD Market is Strong, but More Set Options Needed Fast

Even though Wall Street is throwing out some of the most negative numbers in memory, the North America TV market remains continues to remains pretty much “robust” according to analyst DisplaySearch. First quarter shipments in this calendar year exceeded targets by 7 percent—with about 7.5 million units shipped.

At a DisplaySearch conference this month, among other findings, data showed a 53-percent increase (year-to-year) in flat-panel TV shipments in North America as consumers continue targeting mostly HD LCD and plasma units.

But a weakened North American (and to a lesser degree, global) economy did take a toll on some sales, as smaller screens outperformed larger screens in some instances. Worldwide shipments of 32-inch sets exceeded DisplaySearch forecasts by about 10 percent, while all screen size categories more than 40 inches fell at least 3 percent short of projections.

In a separate new analysis, DisplaySearch concludes that if set makers and retailers want to sustain HD sales in the years ahead, they will need to begin including as standard features options that are now considered add-on options on some of the higher-end models—such as direct and easy online access for downloading and other Internet activities, 1080p, DVR capabilities and the latest generation of HDMI connections.