After the holiday season is over and the Super Bowl has been played, TV sales traditionally flag. Especially given the fragile state of the current economy, you'd think TV makers would respond to the lull with major price cuts instead of the usual increases they institute at this time of year.
You can guess what's happened. According to electronics Web site Retrevo, the 30-percent increase in the price of HDTVs since January corresponds to a weakening consumer demand for sets. Retrevo speculates that TV makers didn't want to sustain the super-low prices over the holiday buying season in order to raise their profit margin. But interest in other electronics products like cameras, camcorders and Blu-ray players has bottomed out and is starting to rebound, perhaps because these are more affordable options compared to a new TV.
In a not unsurprising related development, consumers' focus on the bottom line has propelled Vizio to the top of the charts in US sales, surpassing previous champion Samsung. Market research firm iSuppli has found that the typical price on a Vizio 40-inch set is about $150-$200 cheaper than an equivalent model from Samsung or Sony. These days, that seems more compelling than the perceived superiority of the prestige brands.
Let us know in the TalkBack section if rising prices have made you postpone an HDTV purchase.