Amid all the depressing news about the lousy economy and even worse retail season I find one piece of news quite cheerful: not only have flat panel TV prices fallen enormously. They're on their way down further.

Writing for the New York Times recently Eric Taub points out that while salesmen say prices are as low as they can get (Shocking!), prices are due to dip further. (He also helpfully notes that springing for the higher resolution 1080p is pointless if you're getting a television that's 40 inches or less. Samsung told investors today in San Francisco that price wars are hurting its margins, so it's investing in a more expensive, faster-refreshing screen.

The Times
says flat panel TV has become a litmus test for the economy, which is a bummer because those sales are dipping. The Consumer Electronics Association revised down rosy predictions for the fourth quarter. People are buying smaller, cheaper TVs, says TVPredictions.com.

As a consumer, Samsung's plan for better, more expensive TVs sounds like a loser. Are people who already have big, flat TVs going to buy new ones just for the refresh technology? Are the people who have held out this long going to pay more for a better TV? My husband and I have reversed gender roles on the big TV issue: I want one. I've wanted one for years. It'll take up less space, I argue. What has finally brought him around is that the price is so low. But, we're still waiting till after Christmas.

Deflation is a huge economic worry. Once people start thinking prices are coming down, they change their behavior. Buying now doesn't make sense. And that's what we're seeing with TVs.

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