Unimpressed by the newest TV innovations, consumers aren't jumping to buy the latest models, which has pushed set prices down, making it all the better for budget-conscious buyers. For instance, a 55-inch Sony offering that would have sold for $6,000 a few years ago, now would go for $2,599, reports The New York Times's Andrew Martin.
Television makers used to lure (trick?) buyers with new features. But shoppers are no longer blinded by marginal enhancements, and are instead waiting for the prices to drop. “People used to pay additional to get a Sony Trinitron,” Riddhi Patel, director of television systems at IHS iSuppli, a market research firm, told Martin. “But the industry has trained the consumer that any time there is a new technology, if they wait six months the price will come down," he continues. Apparently 3D and Internet connectivity aren't enough anymore. Unless a set offers something particularly useful -- like a way to finally cut the cable cord, for example -- there's no point in springing for a more expensive option. And for those who want these weak bells and whistles, they can just wait a few months and pay a better price.
Shoppers have also realized that electronics no longer have separate functions -- who needs a TV, iPad, Macbook, and an iPhone? Tablets, which allow for TV program and movie watching and have Internet connectivity, have also cut into sales. “Guess what? The price of an iPad is the same as a 42-inch LCD TV," continued Patel. Though, like we said, if someone would manufacture a TV that would allow streaming without a cable subscription -- ahem: Apple, Google -- then perhaps the masses would flock to it, like they once did.
One would think all electronics shoppers abide by these practices. But as we saw with the iPhone 4S bonanza, consumers will still dig deep for the hottest iWhatever -- even if it has the same function and general features as the cheaper predecessor. Apple doesn't make a TV and if it did, maybe its reality distortion field would apply in this electronics realm. But there's another explanation for why televisions don't have that same allure as new tablets and smartphone: Evolution. Smartphone, tablet and laptop makers continue to innovate; television makers haven't. Or at least, they haven't made a new model with the adjustments we're all waiting for: A truly cable-free TV.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.