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Innovation

Survey says buyers looking for smaller HDTVs this holiday season

Along with McMansions and Hummers, it looks like the giant-sized HDTV has become a symbol of a not-so-distant era where people wanted bigger and better, their debt limits be damned. According to a new survey by electronics Web site Retrevo, the Black Friday spike in HDTV demand showed that respondents were far more—170% more—interested in sets smaller than 37 inches than those sized 37 to 50 inches.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor on

Along with McMansions and Hummers, it looks like the giant-sized HDTV has become a symbol of a not-so-distant era where people wanted bigger and better, their debt limits be damned. According to a new survey by electronics Web site Retrevo, the Black Friday spike in HDTV demand showed that respondents were far more—170% more—interested in sets smaller than 37 inches than those sized 37 to 50 inches.

If you think the discrepancy is entirely due to the fact that most buyers already have a larger HDTV and are looking to add another in a bedroom or study, think again: 46 percent of respondents said they're looking to buy their first HDTV. Another interesting finding from the survey is that a sizable minority of people (42%) don't think they need to view a set in advance of purchasing, trusting in reviews, brand and friend recommendations instead. Just 43% felt they needed to buy an HDTV in a bricks-and-mortar store, whether because they preferred the experience, didn't want to pay for shipping or just wanted the instant gratification of taking the set home that day.

While plasma has staged a mini-comeback with its falling prices, it's still only the preference of 17 percent of respondents, with 80 percent preferring LCD. In terms of features, people don't have a definitive must-have, but 46 percent think 120Hz/240Hz refresh rates are important, and 43 percent look for the Energy Star rating. Perhaps owing to Samsung's marketing campaign, 30 percent think LED backlighting is important, though that number might dip when people see the higher price tags attached to LED HDTVs. Another decent slice of respondents (29%) didn't know or care about any of these features.

There's also no add-on that a majority of HDTV buyers are looking to round out their purchase with. Wall mounts are in the cards for 26 percent of respondents, while 20 percent are buying a cabinet or stand to display their display instead. Buying an extended warranty (22 percent) seems to be a bigger priority than grabbing a surround sound system (19%) or A/V receiver (12 percent).

What are you looking for if you're buying an HDTV this holiday season? Let us know in the TalkBack section.

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