Samsung, Panasonic, Vizio Post Gains in LCD/Plasma

Samsung has edged slightly ahead of rival Sony for the first quarter of 2008 to retake the top ranking in North America for LCD products—rising to 12.8 percent unit share—while maintaining its lead in “combined flat panel TV” (LCD and plasma) TVs, according to new numbers from industry analyst DisplaySearch. Panasonic continued to rule in the plasma-only slot. Most of the affected product in both categories was HD.

Far and away the most competitive technology in Q1 was LCD TV as Samsung, Sony and Vizio found themselves separated by less than a total of half a percentage point of unit share (12.8, 12.6 and 12.5 respectively.)

Panasonic held a commanding lead in is share of plasma units for the quarter (33 percent) followed by LG (19 percent), which was down by half from its 38-percent share a year earlier in Q4 2007). Panasonic’s share included its first shipments of its 46-inch 1080p plasma units in North America.

Meanwhile, upstart Vizio posted its strongest combined LCD-plasma share to date, rising early 2 percent to 12:2 percent from the previous quarter to Q1 2008—and thus overtaking Sony for runner-up in distribution in the United.States only (not Canada). Vizio apparently benefitted from its “LCD + Plasma product strategy,” according to DisplaySearch.