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Samsung Group extended its market share lead over Irvine-based Vizio Inc. in the fourth quarter as the biggest seller of liquid-crystal display sets in North America.

The South Korea-based consumer electronics maker sold 2.4 million LCD TVs in the quarter for a market share of 23.6% in North America, according to El Segundo-based market tracker iSuppli Corp., a unit of IHS Inc.

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Vizio sold 1.6 million LCD TVs for a market share of 15.4%.

It was the third consecutive quarter of North American market share lead for Samsung, which grabbed the top spot from Vizio in the second quarter of last year.

Flat TV sales, made up mostly of LCDs, in the U.S. are expected to decline 5% to 37.1 million units in 2012. That would mark the first drop since flat TVs debuted more than a decade ago.

Vizio prepared for the downturn, entering the tablet, desktop computer and notebook segments in the last year, though it’s too early to gauge the company’s success in the segments.

No. 3 LG Electronics Inc. sold nearly 1.3 million TVs in the fourth quarter for 12.4% of the market.

Sony Corp. was No. 4 with 832,000 units sold, or 8% of the market.