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Electronics turnaround: Flat-screen TV costs drop dramatically



By Fred Kelly


Purchasing a flat-screen television is more affordable than ever before, but the reasons for that price decline are as varied as the sizes, models and picture qualities.
According to a story by David Goldman of CNNMoney, the cost of LCD (liquid crystal display) televisions was at an all-time low on Black Friday, with 32-inch sets being offered at or below $200, 40- and 42-inch sets priced in the $200-$400 range, and 55- and 60-inch sets offered below $1,000 for the first time.
Why did prices drop? Consumers are spending less money in a bad economy, there's a saturation of flat-screen TVs on the market and consumers are savvier about electronics and waiting until prices are lowest before buying.
Sarah Browe, a sales associate for Best Buy in Midland, said she has witnessed the price of flat-screen TVs dropping "by more than half" over the past couple of years. As an example, Browe said she has seen 55-inch flat-screen TVs sell for as little as $799 recently, while noting that a set of that size would have cost at least twice as much a couple of years ago.
Drew Volner, a sales consultant for Sears in Midland, agreed.
"A couple of years ago, plasmas were a couple of thousand (dollars), and they were the top of the line. ... Now, we have LEDs (light emitting diode) and LCDs, and plasmas are quite a considerable amount cheaper than they were a couple of years ago," said Volner, adding that LCDs have now been on the market long enough to also be dropping in price.
Volner noted that a particular 55-inch flat-screen plasma TV, which currently retails at $998 would have cost at least $2,000 a couple of years ago.
A recent price check at five different retailers in Midland indicated that flat-screen TVs are selling for as low as $149 for 22-inch sets; $195 for 32-inch sets; $398 for 42-inch sets; $599 for 50-inch sets; and $998 for 55-inch sets.
Volner said that plasma TVs, in particular, have decreased in cost because newer technology, such as LCDs and LEDs, has captured the public's interest. But that doesn't mean a plasma TV is an inferior product.
"They're still really, really good quality TVs. It depends on what you like. I know people who get plasmas over LCDs and LEDs, and I know people who only get LEDs," he said. " ... I know plasmas that have lasted just as long as LCDs or LEDs. It just depends on how you take care of your TV."
Volner said plasma TVs typically refresh the picture at a faster rate than LCDs and LEDs, making it more enjoyable to watch fast-action programming -- such as sports -- on plasma.
Browe agreed, noting that she actually prefers plasma TVs.
"(I've noticed a drop in prices), especially on the plasmas. Honestly, it's older technology; they've been around for quite some time," she said. "But plasma is my favorite TV. I'm a sports person. I love sports, and (a plasma TV) is better for (watching) fast action."
According to Volner, one advantage of LCD and LED televisions is that they are more energy-efficient and run cooler than a typical plasma TV.
Browe said LCDs are the most popular flat-screen TV at the moment.
"A lot of customers buy LCDs. I think (some customers) are afraid to go with LEDs, because of the (complex) technology," she noted. "The LED has 3D (capability) and a full web browser and the smart applications. But LCD is the way to go (for now), because the LEDs haven't gotten all the kinks sorted out yet."
According to a story at WSJ.com, some Asian manufacturers are attempting to reverse price declines by introducing new models that can respond to voice commands and gestures without the need for a remote control. Samsung Electronics Co., for one, is planning to start selling such sets during the first quarter of 2012.
As Volner pointed out, flat-screen technology has become an ever-evolving process.
"LEDs are the latest (craze) right now," he noted. "But that could change tomorrow. It could be changing right now."
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Fasttobuy.COM is one of the biggest online Industrial components wholesaler in Asia, committing itself to build a worldwide supply shop online. Our company was originally set up in Hongkong, China in 2009, aiming to operate the business-to-customer transactions with overseas consumers. Along with the rapid development of electronic business in China, Our IC and LCD product has earned itself a solid reputation for quality