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The Key Trends in Global Smart TV Set Demand

Despite a seven percent year-over-year dip in global TV shipments, retail sales in North America have been steady and unit shipments were up by almost 3 percent in the third quarter of 2012 -- after posting small declines in the first half of 2012.

The trend in the U.S. market has been toward bigger and less expensive TVs, which is expected to be the focus during the holiday season.

"Inventory has been building overtime to a level that will satisfy the demand," said Paul Gagnon, director of global TV research at NPD DisplaySearch.

The following is a summary of the findings from the latest NPD DisplaySearch market study.

Worldwide TV shipments fell on a Y/Y basis for the fourth straight quarter, as demand in Japan and Western Europe fell sharply. TV shipments in Japan were down over 70 percent Y/Y for the second quarter in a row, while Western Europe shipments fell more than 15 percent.

Flat panel TV growth in emerging regions were lower than expected, especially in Asia Pacific, where the Indian TV market looks to decline in Q3’12, due to little retail set price erosion.

TV shipments in China grew over 13 percent Y/Y in Q3’12 as set makers anticipated demand for TVs during the Golden Week holidays in October. Growth was also helped by the new energy efficiency rebate program that started in June. Both factors led Chinese TV makers to increase production.

As plasma TV shipments continue to decline, LCD remains the dominant flat panel TV technology, capturing a 16 percent Q/Q increase in unit shipments. However, overall LCD TV unit sales fell in Q3’12, down 1 percent Y/Y.

This marks three straight quarters of annual Y/Y shipment declines. Even with a growing share, the overall level of demand worldwide continues to fall in 2012, impacting LCD shipments.

LED LCD TV shipments continue to climb, exceeding 70 percent of units and 80 percent of revenues for total global TV shipments. North America had the lowest LED and 3D shipment penetration of any region worldwide since these consumers are most interested in screen size and price.

Large screen sizes also continue to have strong growth, with the average shipped TV size increasing more than 6 percent to 35.8 inch -- that's the highest growth yet.

In the coming weeks, I'll share the findings from my own personal experience of researching and selecting a new 50 inch smart TV set and companion blu-ray disc player -- both are enabled with 3D capabilities. I'll also describe my preference for downloaded apps, having trialed several entertainment oriented OTT service offerings.

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