NEW TVS

Let the sales games be­gin

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

WITH ex­actly one month un­til the open­ing cer­e­mony, the Olympic race is on.

That’s not a race to a fin­ish line, how­ever, but a race to an elec­tron­ics store.

The Olympic Games tra­di­tion­ally ig­nite a rush for new TVs, as liv­ing room ath­letes dash to up­grade ex­ist­ing screens to bet­ter de­liver the sport­ing spec­ta­cle.

Aus­tralian re­tail­ers say they are al­ready see­ing height­ened in­ter­est in screen up­grades, though not nec­es­sar­ily for the ad­vanced mod­els man­u­fac­tur­ers are pro­mot­ing.

While the 2012 Olympics will be the first broad­cast in 3D, re­tail­ers say con­sumers are not specif­i­cally ask­ing for the new tech­nol­ogy, in­stead choos­ing tele­vi­sions based on pic­ture qual­ity and size.

But re­tail­ers, man­u­fac­tur­ers and re­searchers all agree that con­sumers are poised to make se­ri­ous sav­ings in the 2012 Olympics TV rush, with prices lower than ever.

And when it comes to buy­ing tele­vi­sions, Aus­tralians are gold- medal con­tenders.

De­spite chal­leng­ing eco­nomic con­di­tions, re­search firm GfK re­ports con­sumers spent more than $ 1.3 bil­lion on TVs in the last half of 2011.

Har­vey Nor­man tech­nol­ogy and entertainment gen­eral man­ager Ben McIn­tosh says 2012 could prove to be a big­ger year for TVs thanks to the Olympics, but he says the tra­di­tional 40- inch TV is no longer enough for to­day’s buy­ers: they want some­thing a lot big­ger.

‘‘ There has been a lot of in­ter­est in re­ally big screens over the past cou­ple of weeks,’’ he says.

‘‘ We’re talk­ing about 60- inch, 65- inch and 70- inch screens, so re­ally big TVs.

‘‘ We’ve seen a very big spike for the 70- inch screen in par­tic­u­lar be­cause four or five years ago those sorts of TVs were well out of any con­sumers’ price ranges.’’

McIn­tosh says that while the rush has al­ready be­gun, he ex­pects con­sumers to de­scend on elec­tron­ics stores in greater num­bers from this week on, with re­in­force­ments join­ing in if Aus­tralian ath­letes start to win medals.

With the Lon­don Olympics the first to be filmed in 3D, many man­u­fac­tur­ers ex­pected a boost in 3D TV in­ter­est.

Chan­nel 9 will broad­cast 3D footage of the Open­ing Cer­e­mony on July 27 as well as events in­clud­ing the swimming fi­nals, gym­nas­tics, ath­let­ics and div­ing to view­ers in Syd­ney, Mel­bourne, Bris­bane, Ade­laide, Perth and on the Gold Coast.

But Video­pro op­er­at­ing man­ager Mas­simo Rosazza says con­sumers are not ask­ing specif­i­cally for 3D screens.

‘‘ About two years ago there was a big push on for 3D but the con­tent hasn’t been there so it has suf­fered,’’ he says.

Toshiba prod­uct mar­ket­ing man­ager Justin White says con­sumers are cur­rently fo­cused on two- di­men­sional im­ages and the colour and qual­ity of mov­ing im­ages.

But while view­ers might be buy­ing big screens, they may not have to spend big dol­lars. GfK re­search shows av­er­age LCD TV prices fell 23 per cent be­tween 2010 and 2011, and plasma screens fell 19 per cent.

Com­pare cur­rent TV price tags to those in early 2003 and the gap is even more star­tling, with the av­er­age price of plasma TVs hav­ing plum­meted a whop­ping 90 per cent and LCD TVs dropped 73 per cent.

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