Hi there. New to the forum, but been lurking for a bit.
The DTV switchover and Superbowl will happen at roughly the same time, and I think you can expect to see older-gen models go on pretty deep sales (deeper than they are currently) as retailers try to move out old stock. How deep a discount they'll give remains to be seen. There IS a floor, after all, that being profitability. They still want to turn a profit and aren't likely to let those suckers go at cost. I suppose it's possible some will, but they'll be the models nobody really wants anyway.
I think CES itself won't necessarily affect TV prices directly (IE: not like "Well, CES just happened, so all our TVs are now 15% off"), but the new products entering the market will force prices down on current models. But that should be fairly obvious anyway.
The real questions that CES will raise, I think, are:
1.) Is there a new technology on the horizon (IE: 1-2 years out) that is going to completely blow LCD and Plasma tech out of the water AND be able to compete for size and price?
- If so, that may cause top-end models to linger in stores longer (because videophiles are waiting for the "next big thing"), which will push prices down. If not, no real impact other than the usual "make room for the new model and move out the old ones" impact.
2.) Are the new LCD and Plasma models enough of an improvement over last year's models to warrant laying out extra cash for them, or is the manufacturing cycle about a year out of step with the consumer purchasing cycle?
- If the manufacturing market is a year ahead of what consumers can/will spend, and the improvements don't justify the upgrade, the I don't think you'll see a ton of movement. More likely the manufacturers will slow production to keep pace. If the market is roughly in sync with consumer purchasing, then again, I think you'll see the usual "Make room for new models" discounting.
What I think will be FAR more of an impact is the slowing economy on the whole. For me, it's already had an impact in that I'm simply not willing to pay sticker price. I fully intend to haggle when I purchase because I know that TV will be sitting there 2-3 months later, collecting dust, when it comes back into my price range. So they can either make me a deal today, I'll see them in a few months and they can make me a deal then. Doesn't matter much to me.
I suspect that other people are adopting the same attitude. Combine that with slowing demand in general and tightening budgets and I think you'll see more price movement due to non-industry-specific factors rather than things like the DTV shift.
As for me, I plan on buying some time around the end of March, right when Q1 2009 is drawing to a close and companies have to disclose quarterly earnings per SEC requirements. And that's also AFTER all the other obvious sales have happened so presumably demand will be a LOT lower. Add to that the economy will be even worse off then, and I think some retailer out there will be willing to bargain with me.