IHS: Feb. TV Prices Down 2.3%

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El Segundo, Calif. - A

new report

from IHS iSuppli found that average selling prices on flat-panel TVs  in the United States fell for the third consecutive month in February as manufacturers sought to clear old inventory in advance of the 2011 model deliveries.

Average U.S. TV pricing in the month of February dropped to $1,108, down 2.3 percent from the January level of $1,134, with the biggest percentage decrease occurring in sets sized 21 inches to 29 inches and in those larger than 50 inches, iSuppli said.

February's pricing fell 3.7 percent, down from $1,151 during the same month a year ago, continuing a trend that started in December 2010, a month after TV prices shot up and temporarily reversed a long course of steady decline.

"The ongoing retreat in U.S. TV pricing reflects a determined push among television manufacturers to woo consumers into buying new sets, ostensibly to replace older models for newer upgrades that take advantage of the latest display technologies and connectivity solutions," stated Riddhi Patel, IHS iSuppli television systems and retail services director. "And with numerous competitively priced models expected to be released soon, many basic-level models from 2010 have been discounted to push out inventory."

TV brands also are building on a strategy to widen their pool of offerings to further draw in shoppers.

Consumers now have more choices -- from models providing the latest premium features such as 3D, Internet connectivity and LED backlighting, to sets in which advanced features have been left out or scaled back in exchange for a lower price.

For LCD TV overall, pricing fell on every size group by about 1 percent to 2 percent, declining to $1,037 on average.

The 50-inch and larger LCD TVs featuring the older CCFL technology saw a $102 decrease from their previous perch in January and an even steeper drop of $301 when year-ago levels are taken into consideration.

Among LCD TVs featuring the more advanced technology of LED backlighting, price declines were smaller, averaging less than 1 percent in February. The firm attributed that to the growing popularity of ultra-thin sets among consumers.

Most of the price decrease in the technology segment centered on LED-backlit sets smaller than 50 inches, with the largest drop on average of $28 falling on the 30- to 39-inch models.

The only segment in the TV space where pricing went up in February was in 3D LCD TVs, increasing by $16 on average, to $2,990.

The total number of available 3DTV models jumped to 68, compared with 54 in January and 19 in March 2010, as industry manufacturers continued to push the technology.

Excluding 3DTVs, the general decline in LCD televisions was mirrored in the plasma TV area, with prices falling to $1,525 on average in February, down 3 percent from the earlier month, according to IHS iSuppli. Much like their counterparts in the LCD space, plasma sets are experiencing deep price cuts and discounting to make room for the new 2011 lineup.

The contraction in TV pricing for LCD and plasma models notwithstanding, the market is set to gain strength after the first quarter in line with normal seasonal patterns, IHS believes, and retailers are expected to then raise average prices across all channels after all the old models have been cleared away.

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