Report: LED Sales Topped CCFL In Q4 - Twice

Report: LED Sales Topped CCFL In Q4

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El Segundo, Calif. - More American TV buyers are choosing to purchase televisions featuring light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting rather than the older cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) technology, according to an

IHS iSuppli

U.S. TV Consumer Preference Analysis report from information and analysis provider IHS.

Consumer purchases of LED-based LCD TVs jumped to 54 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, up from just 22 percent the previous quarter, the report found.

Virtually all of that gains made by LED-backlit models came at the expense of CCFL-based models, as sales of CCFL-backlit LCD TVs plunged to 25 percent from 56 percent.

The firm collected data in random surveys of 45,000 U.S. households each quarter out of a continually refreshed pool of more than 2 million.

Of those consumers who said they had made up their minds to obtain an LED TV set, 54 percent actually made those purchases, IHS said.

More revealing, 81 percent of those who had initially expressed a preference to buy a CCFL model ended up buying the LED rival.

LED and CCFL are the two technologies for backlighting LCD televisions, with CCFL being the older light source.

However, LED requires less energy than CCFL tubes, lasts longer and is more environmentally friendly, lacking mercury and other toxic elements.

"American TV buyers are becoming more technologically savvy," said Lisa Hatamiya, IHS TV research analyst. "For years, LCD had dominated the TV space, but buyers for a long time did not perceive the advantages of LED backlighting, even after widely publicized reports came out touting the advantages of the new technology. All that is quickly changing, however, especially as LED-backlit prices decline and as retail channels swing perceptibly toward highlighting the new models in their showrooms."

A 42-inch 1080p, 120Hz LED in the fourth quarter of 2011 commanded an average price of $862, compared to $755 for a CCFL LCD TV with the same specifications. That was down from a year ago, when comparable prices were $1,049 for LED vs. $800 for LCD.

For those buying an LCD TV, price remained the top consideration, with picture quality and screen size also emerging as important purchasing criteria, according to the IHS survey. In comparison, Internet connectivity has fallen in esteem, as consumers report having experienced difficulty with integrating the feature into their existing viewing platforms.

The study also found the most popular screen size to be in the 40-42-inch class, displacing 32-inch for the top spot. The majority of newly purchased TVs still were being placed in the primary areas such as the living room, family room or master bedroom, 10 percent now found their way into a designation known as "other" bedrooms-a record high.

The most highly recommended brands in the fourth quarter were Sony, which grabbed the top spot from LG Electronics, along with Samsung and Vizio. All three brands, according to consumers, continued to offer innovative, value-added features that emphasized the user experience.

Among retailers, Amazon and Costco scored highest with consumers, who increasingly are turning to online retailers in order to purchase high-quality and larger-sized screens, the survey report found.

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