Saturday, August 13, 2011

Low-end brands drive down prices of high-end LCD TVs

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Premium television brands are confronting a growing challenge from lower-end value labels that are offering low-priced liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs with features previously seen only in costlier, advanced-technology sets, according to the latest IHS iSuppli US TV Price & Specifications Market Tracker.

The US average pricing for a typical high-end LCD TV amounted to $1,002.58 in July, down 23.9 percent from $1,317.89 during the same month in 2010.

“Long the chief attraction for high-end brands like Sony and Samsung, features such as 1080p high-definition resolution, 120Hz refresh rates and light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting technology now are cropping up in value brands entering the market, especially in the 40- to 42-inch space,” said Lisa Hatamiya, displays researcher for IHS. “But unlike their pricey counterparts, the new upstarts boast dramatically lower pricing.”

For example, value brands like Apex and Element offer 40-inch 1080p/120Hz LED sets for $550 at Target and Wal-Mart stores across the United States. In comparison, premium brands with the same features are priced at about $1,100—double the price offered by the discount brands.

Feeling the pressure, premium brands are striving to keep up. California-based VIZIO—once considered a value brand itself but now part of the elite cadre of premium TV names—in June dropped the price of its 40- to 42-inch high-resolution LED model by $49. At an average price of $836 and a low of $628, it is the lowest-priced premium TV with those features on the market.

Overall, however, the value TV brands have not yet started to make 3-D or Internet connectivity a mainstream offering in their lines, two other benefits claimed by the premium market. But as value TV brands improve their quality and availability of advanced features, premium brands will need to continually enhance their products, focusing on key advantages while keeping price in mind, IHS believes.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

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