Hoffman Estates, Ill. - Sears sees larger screens, greater access to IP content and more affordable 3D models as the top three trends in TV this year.
The chain is providing its insights to consumers in advance of the NCAA men's basketball tournaments, a major TV viewing and shopping event, and as manufacturers roll out their new 2011 lines.
"As anticipation mounts for the upcoming March basketball tournament, Sears wants to share its point of view and help customers navigate the selection of 2011 TVs to find their perfect sets in time for game day," said Karen Austin, president of consumer electronics for Sears Holdings. "This year, Sears shoppers will see more Internet connectable, 3D-capable and larger-screen TVs than ever before."
Indeed, Internet-connectable sets that provide instant access and constant connectivity are this year's No. 1 trend in TVs, Sears said. The retailer noted that roughly 85 percent of its TV assortment will be Internet connectable in 2011, with features and applications that include web surfing, instant messaging and streaming content. The latter, encompassing thousands of movies and TV shows, is available for sale or rent on select sets at Sears and Kmart via the company's Alphaline Entertainment digital service, provided by Rovi/Sonic Solutions' Powered By RoxioNow platform.
IPTV models at Sears include Panasonic's TC-P50X3 50-inch plasma with Easy IPTV, and Samsung's 46-inch UN46D6300 LED TV with full web browsing.
Sears cited a wider selection of LED, LCD and plasma panels in 50-inch and larger screen sizes as the second major trend in TV this year, but advises customers to also consider bezel width.
Apart from cosmetic value and seamless display, choosing a TV with a slim bezel will often translate to a bigger picture and overall screen size, the chain said.
The third major TV trend is a "rethinking" of 3D. Customers can look forward to the price points of 3D-capable TVs dropping to those of many 2010 2D-only models, the company noted, while more 3D content will become available, including sporting event broadcasts and new video game introductions.
What's more, 2D up-convert functionality, an added benefit on most new 3D-capable TVs, will allow consumers to watch a 2D broadcast in 3D, while the advent of passive-3D technology will make viewing by large groups more affordable.
Sears said it is "amplifying" its assortment of 3DTVs this year in anticipation of increased adoption. New models include Samsung's 55-inch 240Hz LED 3D TV with full web browsing (model UN55D7000), and Samsung's Plasma+ series 51-inch 3D TV (model PN51D550).
Sears is also offering special 36-month financing and free delivery on select Samsung and Panasonic models.
The company is providing its TV guidance to consumers on the Sears Consumer Electronics dedicated blog post at
. The information is also posted on three Sears.com microsites, including