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November Flat-Panel TV Pricing Drops

12/20/2011 04:13:08 PM Eastern

El Segundo, Calif. - November U.S. flat-panel TV pricing
plummeted to their lowest levels in eight months, according to a study released
Tuesday by IHS iSuppli.

Average pricing for LCD and plasma TVs dipped to $1,113.91, down
3.3 percent from the October level of $1,152.55, according to the IHS iSuppli
U.S. TV Price & Specifications Tracker report. The November figure reversed
a pricing uptick in October, and also was the lowest point since March when an
average price of $1,086.64 was found/

"The November low reflects the usual trend of television prices
beginning their descent as the holiday season begins, punctuated by the major
discounts seen during Black Friday," said Lisa Hatamiya, IHS displays research
associate. "This is also the time of sharp price reductions in the channel,
with brands eager to move shipments to meet revenue targets and pushing out
sets with older features to make way for new models in the coming year."

Television demand in the United States continued to weaken from escalating
unemployment numbers, and poor consumer confidence.

Competition among manufacturers is extremely cutthroat at this
point, exemplified by Black Friday prices that show how low manufacturers are
willing to go in order to court the consumer.

The report found a 42-inch Sharp 1080p LCD TV at Best Buy for
$200, and a 47-inch 3D LCD TV with a bundled Blu-ray player from LG at just
$799 at Walmart.

In the LCD category, November prices were consistent with general
trends and fell 2.7 percent on average to $1,020.

Compared to October levels, LCD TV prices in November slipped in
a range of 1.5 percent to 4.5 percent in almost all categories.

The only exception was in the 21- to 29-inch segment, where
pricing rose an unexpected 1.5 percent following increased demand for
premium-branded TVs in that size class.

Within the LCD group, prices fell more among older LCD TVs
featuring cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) technology, compared to their
newer light-emitting diode (LED) counterparts, which sport thinner panels.

 Cold cathode fluorescent
back-lit LCD TVs measuring 50 inches and larger, for instance, saw a drop of
$201, compared to $54 for 40-inch-and-larger LED televisions, IHS said.

The large price reductions in CCFL are consistent with
manufacturer goals to clear their inventories of CCFL-type LCD TVs going into
2012, in hopes of focusing greater sales efforts on LED-back-lit sets that
provide greater margins.

Price declines were also measured in in 3D LCD TVs, with average
pricing in November down to $2,201-a decline of 0.7 percent from October, and
27 percent less than the year-ago level, according to IHS.

Among plasma sets, average prices were down 4 percent in November
to $1,533. Manufacturers are using 3D technology to keep prices and revenue
higher, even as the category is phased out, altogether, IHS said.

With retailers now at their year-end pricing structure, TV prices
are expected to continue their descent in December.

This should help boost sales for the fourth quarter, Hatamiya
said, compensating for some low points in a year of generally weak TV sales.

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