TV Prices Plunging: 32” LCD for $300

Posted by Peter Kern

This is the best time to buy electronic goods, if price is all you care about.

Prices are always dropping, but if you are looking for a cost-efficient LCD, the time to buy may be now: According to DisplaySearch, LCD TVs shed 24% of their average selling price (ASP) in 2009, falling at twice the rate than in 2008. By the end of this year, you will be able to pick up a 32” LCD TV for less than $300 and 50” PDPs for substantially less than $1000.

According to DisplaySearch, blended ASP for LCD TVs fell 24% year over year and 21% for PDP TVs in 2009. The price drops were especially strong in the first half of the year and have somewhat recovered in the second half, as panel prices increased and peaked in September, and stayed high in Q4 09 during what is normally a weak price period.

The market research firm predicts that the price erosion will continue, but slow down due to massive demand for LCD TVs in China, an increased share of LED-backlit TVs and 3D TVs. ASPS are expected to only fall 4% this year, as LED TVs carry a premium ranging from 30% to 50% over comparable LCD versions. However, traditional LCD TVs are turning into true bargains this year as the average price for a 32” TV will be close or fall below $300 by Christmas. DisplaySearch said that even premium brands will be hitting this price point in Q4.

Of course, manufacturers would like you to move to new technologies, such as TVs that are 40” in size or larger. In that case, you may want to look at plasma TVs, which typically consume more power, but can be purchased for less than $1000 in 50” versions. For example, certain Panasonic Viera plasma TVs sell for as low as $750 according to Pricegrabber, and some 50” LG plasma TVs currently sell for an average of about $800 online.

DisplaySearch said that 42” PDPs will fall below $500 by the end of the year and 50” will be the key size for the introduction of 3D panels this year.
Of course, these prices won’t get you one of those fancy networked TVs or a 3D TV, for which you should budget more than $2000. But for bargain hunters, a sub-$500 42” TV is nothing to sneeze at.