Great HDTV Deals Beckon 'Black Friday' Shoppers

Retailers plan plenty of bargains for holiday-shopping consumers on the day after Thanksgiving. And one of the hottest buys this year will be high-definition TVs.

If you're ready to forsake your trustworthy 10-year-old TV for a sleek new flat-panel model, this season is a great time to buy. DisplaySearch analyst Paul Gagnon, who handles North American TV research, says, "The drivers of a lot of the promotional activity and growth last year were flat panel TVs, and that will happen again. Last year, prices fell unexpectedly far. And this year, you'll see some good deals on Black Friday, too."

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Already, many of the deals can be previewed on Web sites like TGIBlackFriday.com and Black Friday 2007, which post leaked sales circulars in a searchable, Web-friendly format. Some of the deals to be had won't be known until a bit closer to the day after Thanksgiving, which is called Black Friday since sales can push retailers' annual revenue into profitability.

The pricing trends and promotions will vary depending upon size. According to Gagnon, most of the best deals will be in the 40-inch plus screen sizes, for both LCD and plasma.

"In the 42-inch class, LCD manufacturers have captured a lot of market share," he explains. "Demand for plasma is shifting to 50-inch and larger screen sizes, and there, the price points are very attractive, with greater price declines this year relative to other screen sizes."

Forty-inch LCD panels that offer full 1920-by-1080p resolution are available in greater supply this year, at cheaper prices. These two factors combined account for why average selling prices of 40-inch LCD TVs are expected to fall by about 31 percent this quarter, according to DisplaySearch's estimates, as compared with the prices in 2006.

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