Flat-Panel's Final Quarter a Downer

While sales varied for the top HD set-makers in the fourth quarter, one thing they all had in common was a general decline in revenue that researchers generally attributed to less discretionary spending. In fact, overall flat-panel revenue (mostly LCD) was down in the final quarter of last year for the first time.

Worldwide shipments of mostly HD flat-panels fell more than 5 percent from the end of 2007 to the end of 2008 (57.7 million units), according to new findings from DisplaySearch's "Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report."

Apart from flat-panels alone, total TV revenues declined even more (7 percent).

LCD, plasma and OLED flat-panel shipments posted their first annual decline in a given quarter, and fell 3 percent year-to-year.

On a revenue basis, North America remains the world's largest TV market, despite what DisplaySearch said is strong recent revenue growth in Western Europe. LCD technology made especially strong gains in share in China and Eastern Europe.