Sony Held 2006 Market Share Lead, Thanks to HD LCD

A mixed bag of unfortunate events throughout 2006, underscored by HD-centric product delays, and a major recall of laptop batteries that set it back at least an estimated half-billion dollars, didn't keep Sony from retaining the lead in total U.S. TV market share last year, according to The NPD Group, a research marketing firm.

Sony's healthy sales were primarily prompted by its HD LCD line of Bravia brand name models, along with its Grand Wega SXRD rear-projection microdisplays. Sales numbers indicate that Sony beat its next closest competitor by about 5 percent in total TV dollar market share, while maintaining the upper hand in overall TV unit sales, according to TWICE.

The NPD Group said while Sony's "leadership position" has been consistent over the past few years, "What makes this performance impressive is the number of competitors in the TV space continues to grow at a staggering pace."

The analyst's 2006 stats continue a trend for Sony winning in total TV dollar sales, which began in 2003. NPD said a combination of key DTV categories (specifically LCD and microdisplay) indicates Sony's overall dollar share outpaced its closest competitors by 21 percent for the first 11 months of 2006. (December figures are not yet available.)