Three years ago, the average 42″ high-definition plasma television sold for more than $5,000. Today, you can buy five of them and have money left over. Earlier this month, VIZIO announced a 42″ plasma HDTV that sells at an everyday price of $999.99. That’s a price point that we’ve seen in loss-leader promotions and close-outs, but this is dramatic for a regular price. The VP42HDTV is sold through Costco, and is rated at a 10,000:1 contrast ratio. It has a pair of HDMI connectors, as well as two sets of component video inputs.
Pricing continues to be agressive in the 40″ to 50″ size range, even though LCDs appear to have won the upper hand. VIZIO’s pricing shows that there is still life in plasma at this size, however, and the LCD models will likely have to match it to maintain market share. (VIZIO does have an L42HDTV LCD model that is priced just $100 higher at $1,099.99.) The winner in all this is clearly the consumer, as products like VIZIO’s exert a downward pressure on prices for the whole HDTV market.