50″ Plasma Two-for-One on Aisle 3

I’ve written lately about the brave talk from manufacturers about how flat panel HDTV prices are not going to decline as fast in 2007 as they did in 2006, and how they are whistling in the dark. The market will determine the pricing, and if supplies exceed demand as it appears likely that they will, then prices will fall. We’re not even through the first month of 2007, and already we’ve seen advertised prices for some models drop by hundreds of dollars since New Year’s Day.

But there’s one price drop that anyone with a pulse is likely to find surprising. Pioneer has a reputation for making some of the best plasma HDTVs on the market. Their PDP-5016HD is a 50″ Wide XGA panel with 1365 by 768 resolution, so it is capable of displaying all the pixels in a 720p image. (Not all plasma panels marketed as “HDTV” can do that.) The surprising price drop on this model is that Pioneer is offering to give them away for free! Yes, that’s a 100% price drop.

What’s the catch? You have to buy one of their top-of-the-line Elite PRO-FHD1 models as well. This 50″ model has 1080p resolution. So buy one Pioneer 1080p 50″ plasma HDTV, get one 720p 50″ plasma HDTV free. Here’s the announcement from the Pioneer Web site:

Consumer Plasma Panel Promotion

This is a limited time promotion starting January 8, 2007 until supplies last
or March 31, 2007, whichever occurs first.

Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc., in conjunction with Participating Authorized Elite Dealers, is pleased to announce a unique Consumer Plasma Panel Promotion.

For a limited time only, purchase a Pioneer® Elite® Model PRO-FHD1 from a participating authorized Elite Dealer in the 50 United States and receive a 50” High Definition Plasma from that same dealer, model Pioneer PDP-5016HD, for FREE. This is for consumer purchases only.

Both models must be delivered to Consumer by Dealer from Dealer’s inventory.

Not all Pioneer authorized Elite Dealers may be participating in this promotion. Pioneer will not be fulfilling any free PDP-5016HD units directly to the Consumer.

Pioneer Elite Dealer’s are NOT authorized to sell Elite products via Internet.

So you won’t find this deal on the Internet, but only at authorized Pioneer Elite Dealers, which generally means the more high-end stores. But if you’re in the market for a top end plasma anyway, now you can get one for the living room and a second for the den or bedroom at no extra cost. And I’m not willing to bet that this is the last blockbuster promotion we hear about in the next 11 months of 2007.