TCL could be preparing to leap frog LG Electronics this year into second place in world market share of television unit shipments, according to research attributed to Omdia.

South Korean electronics business trade news service The Elec, cited Omdia research data Monday indicating TCL is poised to extend its distribution reach with televisions based on the Android TV/Google TV smart OS platform as well as the Roku TV OS, the latter sold largely to North America, but rapidly expanding into other regions of the world.

The report said TCL, which sells primarily televisions based on LCD technology, appears set to pass LG, which sells televisions based on both LCD and OLED technologies, in TV production this year.

Omdia provided its TV shipment forecast based on TCL’s plans to secure 36.5 million TV panels this year, primarily from its own sister company CSoT, and that figure is some 2 million more than LG Electronics’ plans for 34.3 million panels (including both LCD and OLED varieties), while Samsung Electronics will acquire some 55.6 million display panels, including 3 million that will be OLED based.

Compared to last year’s TV panel securing plan, Samsung Electronics increased 7.7 million units (47.9 million → 55.6 million), TCL 4.1 million (32.4 million → 36.5 million), and LG Electronics 1.3 million (33 million → 34.3 million), attributed to Omdia information Monday.

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In 2021 TV unit shipment volume, Samsung Electronics ranked first with 42.23 million sets. The second place holder was LG Electronics with 27.33 million units, and third place TCL had 24.57 million units, The Elec reported.

Note that the forecast is for unit volume only. Both Samsung and LG are likely to continue to hold their positions atop the global factory dollar volume rankings, given that both manufacturers place heavier emphasis on higher-margined TV series and models than TCL has, thus far.

TCL announced last year it shipped 10 million TVs based on the Android TV OS (which includes Google TVs), meaning TCL’s share of TVs based on the Roku TV platform amounted to approximately 15 million units, most of which were sold in the United States.

An interesting side note is that Chris Larson, the former senior VP for TCL North America, recently started a new position as VP of retail strategy for Roku.

Larson helped guide TCL’s rollout of TCL Roku TVs in North America since their launch, and it’s been widely speculated that Roku might be studying the possibility of launching its own-branded Roku TVs in the future. It will be interesting to see if or how that might impact TCL’s market share plans for Roku TVs and Roku’s plans as an electronics device marketer going forward.

It seems at least possible that if Roku moves forward by marketing its own Roku TVs, those products might continue to be manufactured by TCL’s OEM operations, and could account for some of TCL’s additional panel inventory. But that’s only our own speculation.

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By Greg Tarr

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