CES: Prices Keep Falling

As I’ve written here before, a lot of companies have been saying that they don’t expect the flat panel HDTV prices to fall as much this year as they did last year. I can understand why they would say this; the 25% to 40% price drop made profits evaporate even while unit sales went through the roof. But I would also say that these same people didn’t expect these price drops last year either. They may well be whistling in the dark when it comes to this year’s pricing.

Here’s one bit of evidence that prices have not stopped their decline. A number of companies have announced new 42″ 1080p LCD HDTVs here at CES. That’s not big news, because this is rapidly becoming the mainstream choice. The news is this high-resolution configuration is no longer commanding a large premium over Wide XGA (720p) models. Some companies have announced that their products are expected to have street prices from $1,400 to $1,100.

These are not Black Friday promotional prices; these are everyday prices. And that’s for now, at the start of the year. The LCD production capacity worldwide contines to expand, and I believe that manufacturers will continue to struggle to keep inventories down to manageable levels, which means that they will have to move a lot of panels. And that may well lead to lower prices. Prices are low already, and will go lower still before the year is over.