Who’s Your Daddy?

September 7, 2009

Q. I Googled "best 55 inch LCD TV" and got a myriad of sites to refer to. One even wanted me to join before they would give out any info! But I did skim through a few sites and read some others, and that's how I found your (site). Why don't they just print a list in price range form and let me decide? They have them at Sam's Club for around $1,100 to $2K, (including) a lot of brands you know and a few not so well known. I just learned (from the Google request) that most of the 55in. LCD (panels) come from only a handful of companies and all the brands buy their screens, boards, whatever. So, my question is, would you send me a short list of 55in. LCD TVs to go look at? Thanks! 

A. While it’s true that some manufacturers source their LCD panels from other companies, not everyone does this. Sharp, Samsung, and LG all manufacture LCD panels, and the larger sizes like 55” cuts are home grown. Sharp recently signed a deal to manufacture panels in China, and has also bought smaller panels from Taiwanese manufacturers in the past.

Sony does not manufacture any LCD glass. Until recently, the bulk of their panels came from a joint venture with Samsung in Korea, known as S-LCD. Sony has also done side deals to buy LCD panels from Chinese manufacturers…and according to a Korea Times story from a few weeks ago, is apparently also talking to LG for panels.

Vizio, who held the #1 position in LCD TV sales for Q2 of 2009, does not manufacture LCD panels for their TVs, but buys them from different manufacturers including LG. Mitsubishi’s LCD TVs largely use Sharp panels. As far as I know, Samsung and LG continue to manufacture all of the panel sizes used in their LCD TVs.

I should have a sample of the new 55-inch Vizio LED backlight LCD TV soon for review. This set will retail for about $2,000, making it a very unique value proposition for consumers. That price will also undercut the market that Samsung is trying to build with their new line of LED TVs. Stay tuned!