January 8, 2007
HDTV Sales Soaring as Prices Lower

According to the latest statistics on the sales of high-definition television sets, there was a great surge in purchases for the final quarter of 2006, facilitated in part by the drop in cost for units over the holiday period. While this only meant modest improvements for profits for the companies involved, it's an indication of a significant upswing in interest in HDTV sets.

The Quixel study revealed the upswing in HDTV sales, revealing both that more than twice as many high-definition sets were purchased this Christmas season than the same time last year. Also, LCD sets continue to sell more than plasma, in fact twice as much.

James Hibberd with TelevisionWeek writes, "Overall sales were on par with expectations due to the tremendous drop in prices during the holiday season. Major retailers such as Best Buy, Circuit City and Wal-Mart were selling HDTVs at such low prices to remain competitive that profits were slim despite the high volume of sales, according to several news reports."

However, prices look to continue dropping, as Quixel predicts that retailers will try to unload this year's technology to prepare for a rollout of new high-definition sets later this spring.

Last month, I wrote about LCD leading the way to flat panel televisions becoming the most popular type of television currently being sold. At that time, I cited a DisplaySearch study that found that more than 50 percent of televisions sold in North America are flat panel, with some of the more expensive models drawing the highest number of sales.

I wrote about two recent reports about LCD televisions, saying:

Kiyoshi Takenaka with Reuters points out that "it is technologically difficult and often costly for plasma makers to give a full high-definition function to models with a screen size of less than 50 inches, while LCD TV makers are aggressively promoting full HD models in that segment although prices are generally higher" and quotes one analyst as predicting that, "with little price difference, most people would choose LCD TVs because of their higher resolution."The competition is particularly growing because LCD makers are now aggressively targeting the larger television market that had been a stronghold of plasma TV makers.

Back in August, Moon Ihlwan with BusinessWeek wrote, "The popularization of big, thin-screen TVs is happening thanks largely to aggressive expansion by LCD panel makers in Korea, Taiwan and Japan. This year, both Korea-based LG.Philips LCD and Samsung, the world's two largest LCD panel makers, began mass production at new plants that produce bigger glass sheets, allowing technicians to carve out more and bigger panels for TVs and computer monitors."

The continued success of flat panel TV sales indicates that the product has reached the tipping point, particularly in gaining a stronghold in that valuable land between the coasts which makes or breaks a product's hold on American society.