You've already got somewhat of a handle on it, at least with regard to high-end models. Newly released models do stay high for the first month or two, then drop a couple of hundred. Usually there's another price drop anywhere from halfway to 3/4 of the way into the model year. Once replacement models are available for sale, leftover previous year premium sets will take a more siginificant drop- the longer these old sets remain in inventory the cheaper they get. Eventually lefover stock must be returned to the vendor, at which point they can be ridiculously cheap. This isn't happening as much now as in previous years as retailers have pretty much stopped over-ordering premium sets and mfgs. have quiit overproducing them. They realize that in today's economy the demand for premium sets is very low. That's why everybody ran out of VT series Panny plasmas long before ST series sets.
In my experience selling sets over the last 6 years or so the Black Friday "savings" no longer are to be had on higher end sets--instead there will be a combination of really cheap off-brand sets and some de-contented models from "name" brands, most specifically Samsung, that we call BF specials--usually misssing a few inputs and otherwise cheapenned. I have actually seen prices lower in the weeks leading up to BF on high end models than they are during the feeding frenzy. Retailers know that there are a large number of customers who automatically assume the prices on everything will be at the lowest for BF and won't shop any other time so they will sometimes hike prices on premium sets to take advantage of bargain hunters who don't do their research. Also be aware that many BM retailers suspend price matching during the BF weekend.
UPP is MAP (minimum advertised price) with teeth. Under MAP retailers weren't allowed to advertise prices below a certain point established by the mfg., hence the "go to cart to see price" noifications on websites, but were still free to discount below that price. With UPP the mfg. will penalize retailers for discounting below that level--under UPP store managers don't have the discretion to discount on an individual basis. A mfg. could cut off stock to violators of the UPP. Discounts are still be had from some E-tailers not using convdentional sourcing.
A lot of people are under he impression that prices drop after Christmas--in my experience they actually go up and availability stinks.
If you're looking at low/midrange sets the discounts come faster and usually within a few weeks the incoming model is as cheap as the outgoing model was at the end of it's product cycle. For example, the 2012 model Sharp 60" 640 series ended up at $1199 vs 1499 at introcuction last spring. The 2013 650 debuted at 1400ish a few weeks ago but already has dropped to that 1199 price point. I'm seeing the same trend with 6000 and low-7000 series Samsungs. At the high end the 55" ES8000 ended up at about 2399, a new 55EF8000 is still 2700ish.
My observations apply to prices at BM stores (we have access to BBs website at work for price matching purposes and their trends are the same as ours) not necessarily online pricing.
Edit--55F8000 dropped $200 yesterday 4/28. This is a little early for the first price drop.
Edited by Steve S - 4/29/13 at 10:17am