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Samsung-LG gear up to catch up Sony뭩 sole lead in UHD TV
DECEMBER 09, 2013 06:00  
While the overall TV market is expected to shrink this year, there is one product that shows rapid growth. It is the ultra-high-definition (UHD) TV whose resolution is four times higher than the existing full high-definition (HD) TV with 200 million pixels. After Sony launched a UHD TV in the market early this year, global TV manufacturers has followed suit, ushering in the new era of UHD TV.

According to U.S. market research agency DisplaySearch, the global sales of UHD TV during the third quarter reached 919 million dollars, up 126 percent from the previous quarter with 407 million dollars. At the current pace, the annual sales of UHD TV including the lucrative fourth quarter will exceed the forecast by a big margin of 2.8 billion dollars.

DisplaySearch projected that the UHD TV market will grow to 8.7 billion dollars next year and be more than doubled to 16.1 billion dollars by 2017. This means that the market will grow at an annual rate of 54 percent for the next four years.

As of the third quarter this year, Sony takes the lead accounting for 23.4 percent of the market, followed by Skyworth and TCL. Samsung and LG of Korea and Hisense, Changhong, Kongka of China are also competing in the market. The market is currently dominated by Sony, which has agilely responded to the market with popular products, and Chinese manufacturers such as Skyworth, TCL and Hisense, which have focused on low-cost products for the Chinese market.

Samsung and LG aimed to preempt the UHD TV market by launching super-sized premium products with over 80-inch screens for the first time in the world. But since their initial performances were not as good as expected, the two Korean electronics giants have made change to their strategies and started to release products at much lower prices. For the first three quarters of this year, the UHD TV generated 1.41 billion dollars in sales, taking up only about 2 percent of the global TV market worth 68.4 billion dollars. Observers say the two companies still have a chance to dominate the market if they actively respond.

While Sony, the current leader of the market, lost a significant portion of its market share in the third quarter, Samsung continued its growth after the launch of its UHD TV model early this year. Sony뭩 market share decreased to 23.4 percent in the third quarter from 42.4 percent in the second quarter. During the same period, Samsung뭩 market share increased to 10.1 percent from 3.8 percent, while LG뭩 market share dropped to 9.8 percent from 6.0 percent.

Cnet Asia, an IT news and product review website, selected Top five UHD products, and the 84- and 85-inch TVs from LG and 65-inch TV from Samsung ranked first, second and third in order, followed by Sony뭩 65-inch TV and Toshiba뭩 58-inch TV. Some say Korean manufacturers with advanced technology will soon take the lead in the UHD TV market because Chinese manufacturers still lag behind in image quality.

Precedent to the high season next year when the Sochi Winter Olympics and the Brazil World Cup take place in February and June respectively, Samsung and LG plan to make all-out efforts to expand their market shares in the UHD TV market.

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