LED TV Prices 2013-2014

by with Phil Conner and Jack Burden
Spring 2013

Previous Pricing Examples For LED TVs

A Samsung UN55C8000 LED TV purchased in November of 2010 cost $2393 from HH Gregg. That was one of the higher end lines of LCD/LED at that time. The direct replacement and most comparable set for that TV would be the Samsung UN55D8000. This newer TV does have 3D capability but an otherwise similar picture quality level and it costs - $1979 from authorized Internet retailers like B&H. Wow, that's actually a drop in price over a nearly 1 year period!

Samsung UN55F8000 LED TV
Samsung's top tier UN55F8000 LED TV boats a fantastic picture quality

Recent information from data collection sources backs up this information. Prices on LCD Televisions (including LED backlit LCD TVs) actually increased for 3 months in a row from April – June of 2011. While the increases were not significant and do somewhat reflect new 3D TVs coming onto the market – they are present.

Pundits claim that the increases are the result of new higher priced active shutter 3D technology but there has always been significant technological advancement in TVs since flat panel TVs entered the market in 2000. Despite significant advancements every single year, prices routinely dropped 20 to 30% year over year in comparable sized plasma and LCD TVs. That is just no longer true.

Some LED TVs are still coming down in price due to the stiff competition they face with plasma technology, but as we see above some are not. In mature sizes such as 32" LCD TVs and 50" Plasma TVs is a real firming in price. Even in the 55" range we see prices stabilizing.

  • Samsung UN55C8000 55” LED TV DOP 09/19/2010 - $2698 Best Buy PC
  • Samsung UN55C8000 DOP 12/21/2010 - $2393 HH Gregg
  • Samsung UN55C8000 DOP 03/26/2011 - $2099 Ultimate Electronics
  • Samsung UN55D8000 DOP 09/10/2011 - $1979 B&H
  • Samsung UN55D8000 DOP 07/22/2011 - $2364 Best Buy
  • Samsung UN55ES7500 DOP 11/17/2012 - $3099. BJs
  • Samsung UN55ES8000 DOP 01/20/2013 - $2499 Conns
  • Samsung UN55ES8000 DOP 02/06/2013 - $2200 Amazon
  • Samsung UN55F8000 DOP 03/13/2013 - $2697 Amazon

(Note: Samsung's excellent LN55C630K 55” LCD TV sold for $950 in September of 2011. It had an excellent picture quality, good feature set but not the trendy LED backlighting.)

  • Samsung UN46D6400 46” LED TV DOP 09/11/11 - $1249 Sears
  • Samsung UN46ES6100 46” LED TV DOP 11/14/2012 - $1199 Home Mart
  • Samsung UN46ES6100 46” LED TV DOP 01/30/2013 - $848 Amazon

LED and LCD TV Price Predictions for 2013 and 2014

  • 32 Inch LCD TVs. This popular size was recently dominated by LCD CCFL fluorescent but name manufacturers are now making them with LED backlights. The prices in this size in brand name have stabilized and are flat to up at around $300.
  • 40 Inch. This size was once dominated by name brand manufacturers but now has lots of off-brand 2nd tier competition. Good quality models have stabilized in the $450 range while pricing for poorer quality models are lower. Regardless of quality, prices are stable.
  • 46/47 inch LED TVs from the major brands will be flat to slightly down for 2013 due to some pressure from off-name brands such as TCL and Haier (China).
  • 50 inch - There are a few more 50 inch LED models for 2013 and as a new size will be priced along with plasma models.
  • 55 inch LED TVs will generally be flat surprisingly depending upon the features included and what tier and quality of manufacture. Samsung's mid to upper tier will be flat while Sony has some room for decreases in it's top tier. LG will stay the same. A good mid-tier 55 inch model from LG, Samsung, Sony costs $1400 - $1500 and will stay around that price.
  • 60 inch LED TV Prices have become competitive in this size due to Sharp and Vizio putting some downward pressure. Mid grade models from Sharp and Samsung are already down to $1500 and I we do not see them dropping from there. Higher grade 2nd Tier have a little room to come down from Samsung and Sony. Sharp is already there. Vizio is putting some downward pressure on the mid-grade.
  • 65 inch – There is more competition in this size will more plasma models and LED-LCD so we expect a 15% to 20% cut in prices pretty much everywhere as there is a lot more competition.
  • 70 inch – This size is dominated by Sharp but Samsung and Vizio will compete here as well. A mid-grade level Sharp 70 inch LED costs $2400 and will likely stay in that range. The lower end may decrease some more.

Manufacturers Play Where's the Ball?

Manufacturers are doing a “better” job of changing the technology game and prmoting those “new benefits” in such a way that they can keep prices high. A great example of this was the much improved 2010 LCD- CCFL fluorescent backlight technology that was getting very good and inexpensive. Samsungs 2010 models LN55C630, LN55C650, , LN46C750 and so forth were great examples of how good the picture had become. We gave these TVs great ratings for their quality and value proposition and you can click on the links above to see the actual reviews. At the same time “LED TVs” was becoming a new buzzword and commanded a $1000 premium for no better picture – just different issues. And we all know what happened to LCD-CCFL fluorescent TVs – Bye Bye, no see you later. Gone except for very small size inexpensive models. Most large top tier manufactures are not even producing then in small sizes for 2013.

LED backlit LCD TVs vs. Plasma TVs

Plasma TVs have always had a better picture quality especially in medium to low light rooms than LCD and LED-backlit LCD TVs. Fact, end of story. Look on any well-respected TV review site and you will find better picture quality ratings for plasma TVs then LED TVs. Nevertheless, there is a severe reduction in the number of Plasma Models for 2013 and beyond. There are only 3 models of plasma being offered by both LG and Samsung in 2013 and even plasma stalwart Panasonic has only 5 models of plasma TV for 2013 while they have 7 models for LCD/LED.

Sony KDL-55W900A LED TV
This shot of the Sony KDL-55X900A really shows off improvements in LED TV technology. Colors are bright and exceptional and the black levels are pretty impressive

Much of this is due to the retail establishments pushing LED as “the” new technology. New = better, right? But the other part of the equation is that margins in plasma TVs got squeezed so tight that manufacturers could not make money in the technology and only a couple owned plasma panel manufacturing facilities. Pioneer stopped making their excellent plasma TVs altogether and completely exited the TV business, Sony stopped making plasma TVs way back in 2008.



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