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HDTVs and the Super Bowl

Frank Ahrens

This is what you get for playing a game of chicken with that HDTV you've been eyeing: You lose.

An analyst report says that if you were banking on big pre-Super Bowl sales on HDTVs at big-box retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City -- like they've had in the past -- you're out of luck.

Both big-boxers saw third-quarter 2006 profits flatten out on the pricy HDTVs and other gadgets, as they engaged in a price war with each other, says Marshal Cohen, an analyst with NPD Group, which tracks monthly TV sales.

For you, it means: "It's simple. No more big sales on flat-panel TVs before Super Bowl," Cohen says.

Check out the entire story on Phil Swann's TVPredictions.com

If there's an upside to this report, it's that the overall price of HDTVs has dropped considerably in just the past two years, perhaps far enough for people to consider buying one even without the deep discounts. For instance, Walmart.com is showing a 37-inch Emerson HDTV with a built-in digital tuner (for getting HD free over-the-air from your local stations with an antenna) for $798.

And, because prices have dropped so much, retailers may no longer feel the need to offer the deep discounts we've seen in pre-Super Bowl weeks past. In other words, they know they can move their product without them.

If you've been thinking about taking the HD plunge, check out The Post's HDTV package, which ran in Sunday's paper.

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 22, 2007; 12:38 PM ET  | Category:  Frank Ahrens
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Comments

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Definitely useful news to pass on to consumers, however, you miss one good point. Consumers can take advantage of units people purchased for the Superbowl and returned immediately afterwards. And while this isn't something that everyone can do, there are always some good deals to be had on 'open box' items. I've bought 3 of my 50" Pioneer plasmas in these situations getting them for as much as 60% off of the list price. Just as importantly, I haven't had any problems with my units and if I had, they all carried the original manufacturer's warranty.

Posted by: GadgetMike | January 22, 2007 5:54 PM

Excellent consumer tip, GadgetMike!

Thanks much.

Wait a minute: "...three of your 50-inch Pioneer plasmas..."

a) that means you have three 50-inch plasma TVs.

b) it hints you may actually have more.

Good God, man!

Posted by: Frank Ahrens | January 22, 2007 6:09 PM

I am starting to think the best HD will be out of a projector. There has been a lot spend on office projectors and the cost has been pushed down. If you don't mind having a larger unit, the cost can be reasonable. I even think the picture can be very good.

Posted by: Gary Masters | January 22, 2007 7:42 PM

Who cares.....Buy your HDTV, pay those big bucks...but remember it's programing and how much Hi-Def do you get to see after the Super Bowl? DirectTv has been promising 150 Hi-Def stations for 2 years
Yet we still only have six continual broadcast stations. That's a lots of blue smoke and mirrors

Posted by: Mac | January 22, 2007 9:06 PM

While DirectTV keeps promising HD, DishNetwork has HD. I've been using them for years and am upgrading to their MPEG4 DVR.

And the HD is great. I live on the MN side of the Canadian border. There is no over-the-air HD, let alone a decent SD signal. I have to take everything via satellite, though CBC is supposed to be putting an HD transmitter up near us (actually their Canadian viewers) in the somewhat near future.

Posted by: Extreme Northern MN guy | January 23, 2007 10:33 AM

You're right about open stock items. Furthermore, if the manufacturers want to increase sales of hi-def products what do they expect with 2 and now maybe 3 standards for hi-def dvd recording and playback, compounded by few 1080p set offerings, and stations not transmitting in that format for another 2 years, and the limited hi-def transmissions of today. Consumers are getting smart and waiting to see what happens.

Posted by: Miguel C. | January 23, 2007 11:03 AM

I have two recommendations:

1. Watch the super bowl at the local sports bar with all your friends in front of THEIR high-definition television.

2. Save money and buy a 1080i (that's 1920x1080 interlaced) resolution display/projector in 2008 when manufacturers are releasing their new 1080p (progressive scan) models.

Either a plasma or projector with 1080i native resolution will be more than adequate for 99% of avid TV & movie viewers for the foreseeable future. Content (movies and television) available to take advantage of the much-touted 1080p is slow in coming, which means the highest resolution most people will be enjoying is a 480p wide screen DVD (852 x 480 resolution).

Until Blu-Ray is readily available, the vast majority of us just won't benefit from getting a high-definition set this year.

Also, please petition your senators and representatives to support a bill that would force media providers to allow users to select only the channels they want to purchase, rather than forcing expensive bundles. Then users would probably upgrade to the 720p content that is available on cable & satellite with the savings they would have by dropping their 50 least favorite channels.

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