Time was when numerous companies carried a lot of weight as first-tier TV manufacturers for the U.S. market– names like Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Sony, Sharp, Philips and RCA were perennial big-time players in a highly competitive industry.
These days, it appears the U.S. HDTV market is consolidating around two manufacturers: Samsung and Vizio. Research firm Strategy Analytics just came out with its report “United States Smart TV Market Share Report Q4 2013” and the results were eye-opening for watchers of the TV industry. Samsung (29.6 percent) and Vizio (24.6 percent) combined to make up 55 percent of the U.S. Smart TV market. (Perhaps even more impressively, the pair combined for 44.5 percent of the overall flat panel TV market, where there are many more brands, during that same period.)
Behind the Big Two in Smart TV were Sony (17.6 percent) and LG (13 percent). Everyone other vendor combined accounted for 15.4 percent.
Strategy Analytics believes that first-tier manufacturers will corner the market on Smart TVs because of the added expense to manufacture them, as so much of the flat-panel TV market is focused on delivering the lowest possible price. “We expect that Smart TVs will comprise more than half of all flat-panel TV shipments in the U.S. in 2014, but the Smart TV market will continue to be dominated by a handful of vendors at the top,” said Eric Smith, Analyst of Connected Home Devices at Strategy Analytics. “Vendors competing solely on price will be slow to embrace Smart TV.”
You can buy the full report if you’ve got a spare $6,999 hanging around.
If you’re a bargain-focused consumer looking for the functionality of a Smart TV without actually buying a Smart TV, you should definitely pick up a $35 Google Chromecast or $50 Roku 3500R Streaming Stick. They’ll make your “dumb” flat-panel TV smart.