Inside the LCD TV Price War

There’s only one publicly traded American company focused on manufacturing televisions, and you may have never heard of it. One thing is for sure, Sony has. Upstart Syntax-Brillian, maker of the Olevia line of LCD tvs is disrupting the market and driving prices lower by offering their TVs at or below cost. From the NYT:

On the day after Thanksgiving, Mr. Sollitto, the chairman and chief executive of Syntax-Brillian, had 32-inch Olevia liquid-crystal display TV sets selling at Circuit City for $475, almost half its regular price.

Syntax almost certainly lost money on the TVs. The flat screen that makes up about half the cost of an L.C.D. TV is about $350 on its own. But Mr. Sollitto could not have been more pleased. The Olevias outsold Sony and other brands while they lasted. That forced the premium brands to lower prices throughout the holiday season and take notice of the upstart from Tempe, Ariz.

There is a battle going on for the LCD TV market, and retailers are taking the brunt of the price war. Circuit City in particular is feeling the pinch. The only ones “not hurting” are the consumers. And it’s going to get better:

For example, the price of a 37-inch panel has fallen to $476, from $690 a year ago. Sweta Dash, an analyst who tracks panel prices for the market information company iSuppli, expects them to drop to $375 by June, presaging even bigger discounting at the retail level for those TVs in the next few months.

Price wars! Time to start saving for that new TV this summer. —MEGHANN MARCO

The No-Name Brand Behind the Latest Flat-Panel Price War [NYT]