Americans may be curbing spending across the board, but many are still willing to lay down their dollars for a certain kind of luxury – the high-tech kind that hangs on the wall of your family room and makes you feel like you’re right there on the field at your favorite sporting event.
Even though sales of flat-screen TVs have yo-yoed in the past year and a half, overall, analysts view the industry as healthy, and likely to remain so. In fact, a recent survey by PriceGrabber.com revealed that 20 percent of the men polled consider a flat-screen high-definition TV a necessity rather than a luxury.
In 2009, more than 53 percent of American households have at least one HDTV, according to the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, the Web site ScreenSleuth.com reports. That’s an 18 percent increase over last year, the site points out.
Retailers haven’t missed the fact that flat-screen televisions are among the few big-ticket items Americans are still willing to buy. They’ve responded by lowering prices and offering deals and incentives. These deals, plus wider availability of products and services like designer wall mounts and HDTV programming make it a great time to upgrade your set to a flat screen.
Consider these compelling facts if you’re considering purchasing an HDTV:
* Some major discount chains are offering free shipping on flat screens if you purchase online and have the product shipped to a chain location near you. That means if the TV of your choice is out of stock in the store, you can buy it online and pick it up at your local store without spending anything on shipping and delivery.
* Manufacturers have started offering HDTVs with integrated Blu-ray players, so you can enjoy two of today’s hottest entertainment experiences in a single product.
* Most major cable companies now offer a variety of high definition channels – including movies and sports – so you can enjoy the full benefit of your HDTV.
* Online coupon Web sites offer coupon codes, discounts and deals on flat screens that will make you feel like you’re getting away with something. Finding an online discount is as easy as Googling the words “flat screen coupon codes.”
* Some manufacturers are offering extended warranties of five years or more on flat screens. That means your flat screen would likely be under warranty until the technology improves even more and you’re ready to upgrade to a new model.
* Increased competition, including a number of new manufacturers, has helped drive flat screen prices down faster than practically any other entertainment technology. Anyone remember how long it took for VCR prices to fall below $500? Or for video game consoles to cost less than $200? By comparison, flat-screen TV prices have fallen quickly and dramatically, with many quality options now costing less than $1,000.
* It’s easier and more visually appealing than ever to mount your flat screen on the wall. Clunky, intimidating hardware that held flat screens several inches away from the wall are giving way to sleek designer options like Super Slim Low-Profile Mounts from TV accessory maker Sanus Systems. Capable of supporting up to 65-inch flat screens weighing 150 pounds, the Super Slim mounts emphasize the sleek look of ultra-thin LCD, plasma and LED TVs by placing them less than an inch from the wall.