At Last: Some Good News

Declining: The value of your stock portfolio, your home and . . . TV prices!  An outfit called DisplaySearch is reporting that "e-tail" prices (internet-based prices) of LCD TVs fell an average of 22% year-to-year in September. What's more, the average PDP TV e-tail price fell by 27% in the same period.

On the other hand, the price of CRTs rose 4%, as if anyone really cared.

These stats are "global" and tracks e-tail price trends for LCD TVs, PDP TVs, and CRT TVs by major screen size in the North America, Europe, Japan, and China regions.

If you're like me, and you often travel to remote parts of the globe to purchase stuff at the lowest local prices, the following additional stats will be helpful: DisplaySearch’s research also shows that for LCD TVs, Europe experienced the biggest drop, down 30%, followed by China, North America, and Japan, down 20%, 16%, and 4%, respectively. But for PDP TVs, China had the biggest decline, falling 33%, followed by Europe, North America, and Japan. In other words, if you're looking to buy a PDP, head for Beijing and make sure your 777 has really big overhead storage bins.

As you might expect, the bigger the screen, the bigger the price drop: In general, bigger screen had more price erosion. For example, 52-inch LCD TVs fell almost 30%, while 20-inch LCD TVs fell only 4%. The average e-tail price of 52-inch LCD TVs in North America fell 30% to $1,951 from $2,791 a year ago. Meanwhile, 40-inch LCD TVs fell 21% from $1,915 to $1,508. In Europe, 46-inch had the biggest e-tail price reduction, falling 37% from $2,491 to $1,569 in September 2008.

One places you don't want to be watching TV: Japan. Japan continued to have the highest LCD TV pricing during September in almost all screen sizes. Japan’s average LCD TV e-tail price was nearly 25% higher than the global average in September. For a given screen size, the difference in e-tail pricing between regions was dramatic. For example, a 32-inch LCD TV ranged in price from $921 in Japan to $658 in North America.

For PDP TVs, there was an e-tail price increase in Europe, due to the introduction of many new models. During the past year, 63-inch PDP TVs had the biggest price drop in China, falling 30%, while 32-inch prices rose slightly, up 1%.

When looking at the differences in pricing between competing technologies, 32-inch LCD TVs were 18% more expensive than 32-inch PDP TVs in China. However, 42-inch LCD TVs were just a 7% higher price than PDP TVs of the same size

What does all this mean? It means you still can't afford to buy a TV as big as you'd really like. Meanwhile, adding another buck to the kids' college funds wouldn't be a bad thing. —Ken C. Pohlmann