Stores typically offer sales on TVs as the big game draws near, hoping to squeeze revenue out of a traditionally slow month following the holiday season. What's different about this year is the deep price cuts on HDTVs, according to market researcher iSuppli.
"This year, flat-panel and rear-projection HDTVs are cheaper and more available than ever before, making them more alluring to consumers," iSuppli analyst Riddhi Patel said in a statement.
Televisions come in a wider choice of sets and display technologies than ever before. Along with direct-view models like LCD and plasma, there are also rear-projection varieties like digital light processing (DLP), liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS), and 3LCD.
Among the biggest discounts heading toward Super Bowl XLI are for 42-inch HD plasma TVs, which are selling for less than $1,000, compared with $1,800 in December, iSupply said. Close behind are 42-inch full HD LCD sets selling for less than $1,500, a reduction of more than $720 from a month ago.
Other current HDTV prices compared with December include 56-inch full HD DLP televisions for $2,000 versus $2,360; 50-inch plasma TVs for as little as $2,500, after rebate, instead of $2,900; 50-inch HD DLP sets for less than $1,250, compared with $1,690; 40-inch HD LCD TVs for less than $1,500 versus $1,895; and 32-inch LCD sets for less than $600, compared with $1,190.
Even with the added Super Bowl-inspired sales, retailers are expected to have a slow first quarter. According to iSuppli, North American shipments are predicted to fall by 26.3% to 7.1 million units from 9.7 million units in the fourth quarter of last year.