Shipments of flat panel TVs to India doubled in the first quarter of 2011, apparently spurred on by the ICC Cricket World Cup – which India jointly hosted with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The total TV market in India reached 3.7 million for the first quarter of 2011, accounting for a staggering 41.5% of the total sales in the Asia-Pacific region – according to market research company DisplaySearch.

Cathode ray tube (CRT) technology still dominates the TV market in India, with a 72% unit share, although flat panel TVs are making inroads, with penetration increasing to 28% in the first quarter of 2011, up from 26% at the end of 2010.

LCD TV shipments had 94% unit growth rate year on year, reaching one million units – thanks to high profile manufacturer promotions throughout the Cricket World Cup, in which India’s national side claimed victory.

The three preferred TV set producers share a 60% market share in India, with Sony remaining on top of the pile with 20.9% of the market. The Japanese company was closely followed by Korea’s Samsung, with 19.3% unit share with LG in third place with 18.4% unit share.

Videocon – and its subsidiary Philips – shifted the highest number of 22-24 inch flat panel TVs due, according to DisplaySearch, to its strong sales network. Unique to India is the smaller preferred flat panel size of 22-24 inch – which registers 41% share of the market – when compared to 35% of the global market opting for a 32 inch flat panel TV screen.

“Sony, Samsung and LG continue to be in a close race for flat panel TV leadership in India, with the shares of all three within 2.5% of each other,” said Hisakazu Torii, vice president of TV market research for DisplaySearch.

“With weaknesses in global TV demand, especially in developed regions, we expect that some Indian players and other Japanese brands will want to increase share of flat panel TV shipments in India,” added Mr Torii.

Just over half of Asia-Pacific homes (53%) now have flat panel TVs; although this is the lowest penetration rate of any region, says DisplaySearch.