Buy Yourself A Plasma TV For Christmas, Says Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports says the best bargain of the year might be the much-loved plasma TV. 42″ plasmas should average around $1,000 this holiday season—with “Black Friday” deals as low as $599 (if you’re willing to club someone’s grandmother to get one.)

From Consumer Reports:

720p plasmas with 50-inch screens are likely to go for about $1,400 this year, down from $2,300 a year ago. Plasma will finally become competitive in 1080p, with the average price of a full HD 50-inch set dropping sharply, to just under $2,400 by the end of the year, the firm projects.

Discounts will be less dramatic on LCD sets, but prices will be lower. A 40-inch LCD set with 720p resolution will go for about $1,000. Look for bigger price cuts in 1080p, where average selling prices will drop to about $1,500 for a 40-inch set and $2,000 for a 46-incher. Full HD 52-inch LCD TVs will sell for about $2,700. DisplaySearch predicts that 1080p sets will take over the 40-inch and larger category this holiday season, accounting for about 60 percent of all HDTV sales.

Analysts say it’s unlikely TV prices will drop much lower in 2008, so there’s little point in waiting for better bargains next year.

CR also suggests looking for smaller LCD TVs at Costco and Sam’s Club, as there may be sweet deals to be had.

Plasma TVs May Be the Biggest Bargains This Holiday Season [Consumer Reports]


Edit Your Comment

  1. forever_knight says:

    Analysts say it’s unlikely TV prices will drop much lower in 2008, so there’s little point in waiting for better bargains next year.

    i’m willing to bet these guys are wrong in December 2008 AND in early January.

  2. FREAKHEAD says:

    I’ve been holding out for the 1080p to drop in price. I think this site mentioned just a short while ago that the prices will be better in Jan. b/c of lower then expect consumer spending. This will create some overstock which will kick down the price. I guess we will see.

  3. mantari says:

    I’m more interested in seeing a full resolution version of that vintage TV guide.

  4. nweaver says:

    Also, you WANT a 1080p. I did a back-to-back comparison at Fry’s and you really can tell the difference.

  5. CubFan81 says:

    Also, just an urban myth type shopping tip, wait until after the Super Bowl and you’ll get “Open Box” discounts on TVs people bought just before the game and returned after.

  6. motoraway says:


    This can be flawed, as stores usually use different connection types for TVs they are trying to “push” or “move”. For example, not all TVs would be connected via HDMI. Ones they’re trying to push or move would be connected via HDMI while others would be connected via component or other means.

  7. iamme99 says:

    When will FED or SED TV’s be coming to the market?

  8. GiselleBeardchen says:

    Sam’s Club has had a Vizio 50″ 720 plasma for sale for under $1400 all year. I’m hoping for under $1000.

  9. Slothrob says:

    My TV is only 7 years old, why would I need a new one?

  10. karmaghost says:

    $599 for a 42″ plasma? Awesome, but I’m guessing (if last year was any indication) that to get that set you’ll have to wait in line for 12+ hours and then literally fight your way to the TV, sprinting and pushing people out of your way.

    When I say “last year,” I say it because it was the first time I saw lines everywhere I went, and not just at the biggest retailers like Best Buy.

  11. mac-phisto says:

    @motoraway: yeah, a bunch of electronic stores have been guilty of this in the past. i usually poke around behind the sets when i’m shopping & i’ve noticed a great number of retailers using component distribution blocks. these generally handle up to 10 or so outputs from one input & can be piggybacked. i’ve only seen one store using an hdmi db (tweeters). either way, i think this is less of a problem anymore. i have noticed video loops at specific stores designed to visually overstate the capabilities of the tvs though (target runs a commercial that’s very specific in its color choices & contrasts on the screen – it’s very atypical of normal television).

    if you really want to see the tv’s capabilities, you need to ask an associate if they can hook it up to a live tv signal. that’s when you notice things like frame freeze, watermarking, the infamous cube effect, etc. these problems could be a result of a bad feed, but they can also point to the shortcomings of a particular set at displaying the signal.

    @nweaver: there is a big difference between 720p & 1080p, but there’s also a lot more that goes into it. you also want a high contrast ratio (1500:1 & up) & a fast motion response time (12ms or lower – look for 8ms if you watch a lot of sports). you might also consider color depth, but as far as i know, only a few companies have strayed from the traditional rgb model (samsung & texas instruments being two such companies).

    & if you’re a gamer, you might lean a bit more towards lcd. they are supposed to resolute games better & you don’t run into the screen burn problems that plasma is notorious for (although the technology has improved significantly over the past couple years).

  12. mac-phisto says:

    @iamme99: personally, i’m excited about the oleds, but i don’t think the production ability is really as far along as they thought it would be by this time. we were supposed to see an oled by the end of this year & as far as i know, it’s still nowhere.

    figures -> you’re talking about a tv that lasts virtually forever, uses 1/10th of the power of an lcd & the picture is 1000x better than anything on the market today. why would tv companies want to produce something like that?!?

  13. AndyRogers says:


    I’d be VERY suprised if prices dropped significantly next year. With ALL television going to HD within 18-24 months, we’re a captive audience. Manufacturers and retailers know this. I would be willing to bet we’ve seen the BIG price drops for the time being.


  14. forever_knight says:

    fyi: i believe plasma tv’s consume DOUBLE the amount of power that an LCD does, so remember to figure that into your total cost of ownership equation.

  15. EagleTheta says:

    I’ll spend that much for a TV when there’s something to watch that’s worth that much. Also, since I’ve got young kids, there’s just no reason to spend $1,000 on a TV just so I can see Spongebob Squarepants in 1080p.

  16. cashmerewhore says:

    @Slothrob: everything’s going to HD.

  17. Slothrob says:

    @cashmerewhore: HD Looks great and all, but for $1000 I could spend a week in Marrakech…

  18. jaypee68 says:

    Sam’s Club has a Philips 47 inch 1080P LCD for $1699.00 and a Philips 52 inch 1080P LCD for around $2200.00

  19. sonichghog says:

    Oh you’ll see big price drops next year. As long as anolog TV is dropped in 2009. All the stores will be trying to unload all the old TVs that do not have digital inputs.

    They may still be good TVs, just not digital.

    2 of my TVs are not digital, but they are HD. (early HD no more than 1080i)

  20. bilge says:

    @iamme99: I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for SED. It was first planned for 2005, then Q4 2006, and again for Q4 of this year. Part of the delay is caused by some patent dispute.

    I think OLED will be the successor to LCD/plasma.

  21. Bookworm says:

    I’m interested to see the sales on DLP televisions. I think they are the best technology. They actually produce more colors than LCD or plasma, use less energy, and you can get a bigger television for less money. There’s really no comparison for watching sports or action sequences either because DLP tv’s are faster than both LCD and plasma so there’s no motion blurring. I’ve been doing a lot of research on big screens recently and am definitely favoring the DLP’s.

  22. jstonemo says:

    People are confused. All TV is not going HD in 2009. It is all going digital. Digital and Hi-Def are 2 different features.

  23. TehRev says:


    ///Mitsubishi Diamond top end model
    ////Works perfect with computer/dvd/consoles
    /////$1600 (got a steal of a deal)

  24. zundian says:



    If there is one thing that annoys me, it’s the belief that TV is going all Hi-Def in 2009.

  25. Don Roberto says:

    @TehRev: And when you’re replacing bulbs on that DLP in 2-3 years, I’ll still be enjoying my plasma. I was really close to buying said mitsubishi dlp for around 1400, but ended up getting a plasma.

    50 incher
    $1215 (1999, onsale for 1599, $250 discount for using sears card, 10% employee discount.) Still a good deal at 1350 or so without employee discount.

  26. hn333 says:

    No, I’m happy with my 14 inch Toshiba tv.

  27. thepounder says:

    Don’t bother with plasma, go with DLP. No “screen door” effect on DLP, and they’re now steadily moving to LED lighting as opposed to the $200 regular bulbs.
    DLP prices have also kept creeping lower too, to the point they’re (at least from what I’ve seen) almost always lower than a same-size plasma.
    Unless, of course, your new TV must be like 2″ thick, the get you a plasma.

  28. STrRedWolf says:

    Checked with Costco Wednesday. Unfortunately, their 26″ LCD’s are the same price as what you can get at Best Buy, hovering the $500 range. Not good.

  29. G-Dog says:

    Thats right, BUY BUY BUY! Your current, embarrassingly low def TV will EXPLODE and KILL CHILDREN if you try to use it in 09!

    You don’t want the neighbors to know you only have low def, right? Think of your status in the community if you don’t consume early and consume often!!

  30. Bookworm says:

    @Don Roberto: The new DLP televisions don’t have the same bulb replacement issues. They are LED and last much, much longer. They can actually last up to 10 years… and that’s without even turning off your television! LEDs also produce about 40% more color than plasma.