You can scratch off another “premium” feature that no longer carries a premium price. According to the company’s press release, Westinghouse Digital has announced that it is shipping LCD HDTVs with LED backlights at prices that challenge the traditionally less-expensive cold-cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) backlight designs. Its 40″ LD-4070Z is on sale online now at Walmart for $439.99; that’s at least 40% less than LED-backlit models from the major manufacturers. Westinghouse also has a 46″ LD-4655 that is currently on sale for $599.99 at Best Buy. That’s less than the price of a 42″ LED backlit model from most brands.
The accelerated life cycle and cut-throat pricing in the flat panel TV market now force manufacturers to migrate new features throughout their entire product line faster than ever. We’re seeing that with LED backlights and 120 Hz refresh rates. It’s already starting to happen with Internet connectivity and stereoscopic 3D support. The bottom line is that you don’t have to wait long for a new, desirable feature to get folded into the list of standard features that you can expect to find on all but the most stripped-down entry-level models.
I suspect that it’s a whole lot more fun to be the consumer and not the manufacturer in this market.