Price war to drive down TV prices this holiday season

When's the last time you bought a new television? If you haven't gone 3D or at least bought one of the new LED TVs, then you're part of the problem that TV manufacturers are facing. Shame on you! The good news is that their problem is our opportunity. We talked a while back about how 3D televisions aren't selling in the numbers manufacturers had hoped. That apparently hasn't changed, and it seems like not too many of us are upgrading to one of the new LED TVs either.

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With Black Friday just a few weeks away, television manufacturers are ready to take drastic steps in order to entice you to buy. That's good news for consumers, at least according to an article on Bloomberg which says analysts predict TV prices may drop as much as 25% in 2010. But it's bad news for the manufacturers, several of whom are cutting earnings forecasts. The article specifically mentions Sony, Panasonic, LG and Samsung as companies chiming in with bad news. The money quote comes from Tsutomu Yamada, a market analyst at Securities in Tokyo:

“There’s going to be a price war this Christmas season and there’s no way around that. The whole strategy this year is ‘sell earlier and sell for less.’ That makes life miserable for the manufacturers.”

In addition to the manufacturers, the big chains like Wal-Mart and Target are readying their own series of discounts. The bottom line is that if you've been thinking about buying a new TV, wait just a few more weeks to get the best deal. I guess that's pretty obvious advice to give any year as we hit November, but it holds true even more so this year. I can't say any of this is much of a surprise to me. We just went through this big transition from big bulky standard definition CRTs to sexy flat screen high definition sets. I can't think of many people who haven't upgraded their TV in the last few years, and most of us don't expect to have to buy a new TV every 24-36 months. TVs last a long time. If you have a set that works great and delivers an HD picture, what's the incentive to upgrade? The manufacturers keep trying to convince us we need 3D but most of us aren't interested. Heck, half the reason I'm not even considering a new set is that I have no idea what I'd do with the old one. I'm out of rooms to stash a TV in and I'm not going to recycle a perfectly good 52" LCD set. I could sell it for a fraction of what I paid for it, I suppose, but I'm not all that keen on inviting into my home some random stranger who sees my ad on Craigslist. Maybe these manufacturers should consider some kind of trade-in program. I'd haul my set into Best Buy if I could get a $400-$500 discount on a new TV. I might even spring for a 3D set...just in case. What about you? Is there anything the manufacturers can do to entice you to buy a new set this year?

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