If you're wondering why Sony is losing share in the HDTV market—that is, aside from its high prices—here's one possibility. According to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates, salespeople at electronics retailers are increasingly recommending Samsung sets, while they're less likely to recommend Sonys. In fact, Samsung LCDs were recommended 58 percent of the time to the "mystery shoppers" used for the report, but Sony recommendations were given less than 25 percent of the time. The really bad news: In 2008, the research firm's studies showed recommendations for each brand were neck and neck.
One other interesting finding from the J.D. Power report: The percentage of salespeople who recommended LCD HDTVs dropped from 68.3% in the first quarter of 2009 to 59.4% in the second quarter. Oddly, though, the percentage who recommended plasmas (as opposed to not recommending a particular display technology) only went up a small amount (from 29.5% to 30%). While there are certainly some fine performing LCD TVs (especially those using LED backlighting), reviewers usually find plasma sets offer superior picture quality, which make it all the more curious that plasmas aren't recommended more. Then again, maybe that's because electronics stores jack up ambient lighting in their TV sections, which favor LCDs over the cooler plasma images.