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TV Price Check

November 17, 2006 - updated 11/21 and 11/28

I was over at my local Best Buy a couple of days ago checking out their newly renovated TV department and noticed that the Hewlett-Packard 32" LCD flat-panel had been reduced to $900, from $1200 about three months ago. This was not a sale price.

Wow! I thought. But other brands had not gone so low, and the HP set is made by Sharp and is no slouch in the specs department, so I went home and looked at the HP web site.

Sure enough, the price had been reduced there as well, to $900. Plus, HP has an electronic coupon (which runs through tomorrow, the 18th) for an additional 5 percent off. That's $855 for a 32" LCD flat-panel with two HDMI inputs! Free shipping to boot. Checked back on the 27th, and it's now down to $800 including $100 instant rebate! Downside is the $200 instant rebate on the 37" set is now gone.

Since first writing this article, when HP's 37" LCD flat-panel was selling for the reduced price of $1300, they had (when I checked on the 21st) further reduced that price to $1100 with a $200 instant rebate (no longer). Free shipping from web site.

This comes hot on the heels of the $2000 price drop in HP's 65" DLP rear-projection HDTV. (From $5500 to $3500 from a year ago--plus the same 5 percent off.)

Something's going on. I'm starting to think that HP is getting out of the TV business. Competition from the big names, I guess. Or they're getting ready for a new model line. Who knows?

Anyway, just to satisfy my curiousity, I did some further price checks.

Digging out from my hard-drive a Fall-2004 TV directory put out by the Consumer Electronics Association, I compared those prices with today's.

Two years ago a Sharp 32" LCD flat-panel with digital tuner retailed for $3500. Today you can pay $1130 (Sharp) or $900 for the HP.

For 37" LCD flat-panels, Fall-2004 prices were $7000 (LG) or $6000 (Sharp). Today, you can find a 37" Sharp or HP for $1300.

Note that these are 1366 x 768 resolution sets. Full-spec HD was not generally available two-years ago. Neither was multiple HDMI inputs, but today's sets have them.

Today you can get a really good 1920 x 1080 37" LCD flat-panel for $1800! Compare that to the $6000 for a 37" 720p set two years ago!

Better and cheaper. Someone's going to sell a lot of new TVs this holiday season.