In a shift that will impact the platforms consumers all over the world use to stream video, China's TCL is poised to overtake Korea's LG as the No. 2 global supplier of smart TVs this year.
According to Korean electronics news site The Elec, which cites data from research company Omdia, TCL is ordering 36.5 flat panel displays from its vendors this year vs. 34.3 million from LG. Market leader Samsung has ordered 55.6 million displays
These orders don't necessarily translate into shipments, but they are good rough indicators as to how many unit shipment and sales each manufacturers expects in a given year.
In 2021, LG shipped 27.33 million smart TVs, according to Omdia data, while TCL shipped 24.57 million sets. TCL, which roared onto the global smart TV scene in 2017 with low-cost LED sets that undercut Korean rivals LG and Samsung, has been steadily closing the unit-sales gap with LG for several years.
The story here isn't about revenue. LG has hooked a fast-growing advanced advertising business to the proprietary operating system that powers its premium smart TVs, webOS.
TCL licenses the Roku OS and, to a growing extent, Google's Android TV and Google TV, to power its lower-priced smart TVs. However, as TCL swells in stature, so does the prophecy recently put forth by Roku CEO Anthony Wood, who last month predicted that Roku, Google TV and Amazon Fire TV would someday displace the proprietary OS software provided by Samsung and LG.
Roku has 60.1 million active users, 88% of which are in the U.S., according to information released by Guggenheim just last week. As TCL ramps up sales of Roku-powered sets in regions including Europe, those numbers will certainly shift.
Ditto for Google -- in January, TCL said that it has now deployed 10 million devices powered by either Android TV or its prodigy, Google TV.
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!