1060379_47e6_625x1000For the first time in a year, global TV shipments are up in the latest quarterly report by industry analysts DisplaySearch.

The year 2009 was a bad one for the TV business. Both the average selling price and total revenue for the industry dropped about ten percent, shrinking the market from $112 billion to $101 billion.

Now, the DisplaySearch report’s authors claim that “developed TV markets” North America, Japan and Western Europe have held steady despite the recession, and are being joined by accelerating demand for flat panel TVs in emerging markets.

“China is a hot growth engine for the global flat panel TV market,” the company’s vice president of TV market research, Hisakazu Torii, wrote in a prepared statement accompanying the report. “Government stimulus activity is having a positive effect on demand for flat panel TVs in both China and Japan.”

In America, the hot market is smaller LCD screens in 19-inch to 32-inch sizes, where annually tumbling prices fell below $500 this past year. A 32-inch Vizio LCD HDTV is only $368 at Walmart.

Of course, selling discount TVs isn’t the most profitable business to be in. DisplaySearch’s analysts think the premium market — people who want to splurge on a better TV than the neighbors — will want three things: LED backlighting instead of LCD, higher frame rates of 200 to 240 screen redraws per second rather than 100 to 120, and the feature anyone who saw Avatar will want, 3D TV.

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