SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- Bud Werner and his wife are longtime movie buffs. For more than a year, he pined for a flat-panel television, thrilled by 60-inch screens thin enough to hang on a wall and turn his living room into a mini-movie theater.
But he couldn't overcome sticker shock -- some flat panels were selling for as much as $20,000 at first, as much as a new car. Like a lot of fans of flat-panel TVs, Werner, who owns a sign-making business, held off buying.
Until now, that is.
Prices for flat panels have finally begun to tumble -- by as much as 35 percent in the past year -- as soaring demand for the two leading flat-panel technologies, plasma and liquid crystal display, or LCD, attracts a host of new competitors.
"I'm excited," said Werner, 54, whose patience was rewarded this month when he bought a 50-inch plasma television at Best Buy for $3,800. "We already have the wall picked out where it's going to hang."
Lesser-known brands, such as Westinghouse Electric Co., Regent USA's Maxent, Syntax Corp.'s Olevia and Norcent Micro Inc. are slashing prices to compete against more-established names like Sharp Corp. and Sony Corp., forcing them, in turn, to charge less.
Semiconductors and other TV components also are getting cheaper, and the industry continues to find ways to trim production costs.
Now, a 42-inch liquid crystal model retails for about $4,200 on average, and the same-sized high-definition plasma sells for around $2,900, said Riddhi Patel, senior analyst for iSuppli, a market research firm in El Segundo, California.
Still too expensive? Price-conscious consumers shouldn't worry, analysts say, as flat-panel prices have yet to bottom out. Story Continued at Source