Year-End Bargains Expected For Flat-Panel TVs

Consumers in the market for a flat-panel TV might consider waiting a couple of months to make their purchase. Two of the world's biggest consumer electronics companies said this week that fierce price competition is expected during the year-end sales season and that could mean bargains for savvy shoppers.

"Competition is very intense, especially in the American market. We believe that we'll be seeing lower prices especially on 40-inch or 30-inch sets much earlier than we had expected," said Nobuyuki Oneda, Sony chief financial officer, on Thursday at a Tokyo news conference.

October Through December

Sony hopes to sell 6 million of its Bravia LCD TV sets this financial year, and expects to sell about 40 percent of those during the October to December period, he said.

"We also hear from the market that Panasonic's PDP (plasma display panel) or Samsung's LCD and MDPJ (micro display projection) will very much be on the offensive in this market so we understand we are going to be faced with very tough competition," said Oneda.

Sony is expecting prices for its TVs in the last three months of the year to be between 20 percent and 25 percent lower than they were a year earlier in most regions. In the U.S. market prices are expected to be 25 percent to 30 percent lower, he said.

Demand Is High

Today, Panasonic said it is seeing "continuous price declines" in the digital audio-visual sector as a result of the "intensified global competition" and forecast continued pressure on the prices of products.

The falling prices are stoking demand among consumers for the sets, which offer big space savings in the home over conventional CRT (cathode ray tube) models and often come with added benefits such as high-definition tuners.

LCD TV shipments in the April to June quarter jumped 135 percent year-on-year, and PDP TV shipments jumped 95 percent, according to DisplaySearch.

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