Though 2011 was a rough year for all HDTV makers, Vizio had a worse year than most. On one hand, there’s Samsung, LG and Sharp, who were rewarded by an increase in US market share of 17.9%, 35.2% and 60.09% respectively (Q4 2010/Q4 2011). Vizio, once number one in US market share (Q4 2010), found the bottom fall out with a whopping 44% drop in volume during the same 2011 period! Learn more past the break.
While Panasonic, Sharp, Samsung and LG all make their own panels and assemble their own HDTVs, Vizio makes nothing. They buy LCD panels and parts from outside companies and use factories mainly owned and operated by Taiwanese company AmTran to assemble these parts into TVs. Vizio earns thin margins for its dealers and itself, relying on warehouse clubs, Target and Wal-Mart for sales volume. “Samsung triumphed in the price war that raged in the US LCD market in the fourth quarter of 2011,” said Tom Morrod, senior analyst and head of TV Technology for IHS. “The company was able to offer a range of price-competitive sets with a rich choice of features that U.S. consumers wanted. This allowed the company to outperform the competition during the all-important holiday selling season.”
We anticipate Vizio’s problems will continue this year. Out of around fifty HDTV models Vizio debuted in 2011, they have chosen to carry-over almost all of them for the 2012 model year. Samsung, LG and Panasonic revamped their respective lines with new features including enhanced Internet connectivity/apps, new thin styling, more LED and 3D models, gesture and voice control (LG, Samsung), and built-in HD Cameras with face recognition (Samsung).
Sharp has found a new niche with its 60+ inch screens and continues to add features while offering very aggressive prices. Panasonic has finally entered the large screen LCD market with its own innovative 47- and 55-inch screens exhibiting deep blacks and outstanding viewing angles (review link). Just-introduced 2012 plasma models offer improved performance and new features as well.
Do You Want New and Improved or the Same Old TV?
With new features, sizes, svelte styling and other improvements from Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sharp consumers need to decide if they want the latest and greatest in HDTV or a carry-over from a failed 2011-model mix from Vizio. Consumers will once again vote with their wallets. We just begun to test the 2012s and plan to publish a number of reviews during the next few weeks.
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