Samsung Electronics' grip on the flat-panel TV market is tightening.
Samsung ships almost one in five of all TVs in the world, according to a DisplaySearch report. (Credit: CNET)
Almost one in five televisions shipped during the third quarter of 2009 had a Samsung label on it. That's according to DisplaySearch, a market research company that tracks sales of TVs. As The Wall Street Journal noted on Wednesday, Samsung's 17.2 percent--and growing--share of the worldwide TV market is a big deal. No company has had a 20 percent share of televisions since TVs were first sold. The speed with which Samsung has overtaken its competitors is fairly remarkable as well. Just four years ago, the company lagged behind Sony, who was then the king of the new flat-panel scene. Since passing Sony in sales, Samsung has doubled the number of TVs it ships every year. Samsung shipped 38 million TVs last year, according to DisplaySearch, and a goal for 2010 is to sell 45 million TVs. Sony, meanwhile, has floundered in the market it once dominated. Its worldwide market share of flat-panel TVs is 5.9 percent, according to DisplaySearch. That's behind LG (14.8 percent), Panasonic (6.9 percent), and TCL Electronics/RCA/Thomson/Alcatel (6.6 percent). For Samsung, broad consumer acceptance of flat-panel technology has been a boon, and it appears that the company plans to milk it. Of the 38 million TVs the company shipped last year, 27.5 million were liquid crystal displays, or LCDs, and 3.5 million were plasma displays. An executive told the Journal that Samsung wants its total number of flat-panel sets to increase to 39 million this year. Samsung has been one of the major manufacturers pushing LCD technology with light-emitting diode, or LED, backlighting, as well as Web-connected sets, and focusing less on new display technologies such as organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, technology.