Sharp Lowers Prices on New HDTVs

My position on whether or not to choose 1080p over 720p has always been tempered by disclaimers about how much of a premium you should pay to get the extra resolution of 1080p. If the prices are the same, then I definitely would get the 1080p model (assuming all else is equal, such as the quality of the LCD panel and of the scalers).

Well, Sharp may have made the problem that simple. On Wednesday, they announced pricing for the new line of Aquos LCD TVs that are due to ship in mid-October. The 42″ model will have a suggested retail price of $2,499. The 46″ model will be priced at $3,499, and the 52″ model at $4,799. The street prices should work out to be several hundred dollars less, so expect the 42″ model to sell for between $2,000 and $2,200.

Wow — those are prices that are close to matching the HD plasma prices (and many of those don’t actually have enough pixels to completely render a 720p image). According to Pacific Media Associate’s tracking of retail ads for HDTVs, the August prices for 42″ LCDs ranged from $1,800 to $2,800, so a 1080p model at the low end of that range makes it easy to decide between 720p and 1080p. And the images on these new displays at the press event at CEDIA in Denver looked great. The blacks were deep, the colors were bright, and the bottom mounted speakers took up little space.

This development also helps squeeze plasma out of the 42″ size range, as there is no 1080p plasma available in that size. It’s now time to say that if you’re buying anything 42″ or smaller, buy LCD. Larger than that, plasma and rear projection are still in the running.

Trying to make up your mind about 1080p versus 720p? Find help in Professor Poor’s Quick Guide: Is 1080p Worth It?