Electronics maker Sharp Corp. was toppled from its leading position in the LCD-TV market in the most recent quarter, falling to fourth place as rival Samsung rose to take the lead.

Despite declining LCD-TV prices, rivals were able to capitalize on declining prices, market researcher iSuppli said on Tuesday, paving the way for the dramatic market shake-up in the fourth quarter.

This is a significant blow to Sharp, which had been the dominant LCD-TV seller going into 2006, said Riddhi Patel, principal analyst for television systems at iSuppli Corp. While its market share had been declining, Sharp had managed to maintain a considerable distance from its competitors. However, this is no longer the case.

Samsung took Sharp’s previous position at the top of the rankings with a 16.8 percent share of LCD-TV unit shipments in the fourth quarter, up from 13.5 percent in the third quarter. Second place belonged to Philips Electronics with 15.1 percent of the market, while Sony Corp. came in third with a 13.1 percent share of unit shipments.

Sharp fell to fourth place with 11.4 percent of the market, down from its market lead of 13.9 percent in the third quarter.

Overall, the television market fared in the fourth quarter. LCD TVs attained 48 percent quarter-on-quarter growth in unit shipments while Plasma Display Panel (PDP) TVs posted a 27 percent quarter-on-quarter expansion in the fourth quarter, iSuppli said.

Total TV shipments rose 19 percent.