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Super Bowl Prompts Retailers To Cut HDTV Prices

Stores typically offer sales as the big game draws near, hoping to squeeze revenue out of a traditionally slow month following the holiday season. But this year the cuts are deeper than normal.
As football fans get ready for Super Bowl Sunday, retailers are hoping to tap into their enthusiasm by offering significant discounts on high-definition televisions.

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.