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Posted: 12:00 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010

Flat-screen TV prices to drop below $200

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MONEY-SAVING MOMENT: Flat-screen TV prices are expected to dip below $200 in time for Black Friday.

CNNMoney.com reports that an oversupply of flat-screen panels means very promotional pricing on hi-definition TVs this fall. 32-inch screens (720p) are expected to be $199, down from the current average of about $299 right now.

The best deal as we approach Black Friday will be on 50-inch plasma screens. Clark guesses they'll price out around $399.

Several years ago, associate producer Joel spent all night on Thanksgiving at a Wal-Mart to score a 42-inch HDTV (1080) for $599. That, of course, is a ho-hum price these days when you have 40 and 42-inch LCDs pricing out at $399.

Much like other electronics, TVs follow Moore's Law, which states that technological capability doubles every 18 months and gets cheaper in the process. Think about it: Early adopters paid a zillion dollars for HDTVs and had nothing to watch. Today, HDTVs are cheap as all get out and there's tons of programming to enjoy.

One word about extended warranties on TVs: Don't buy them! Consumer Reports says that electronics seldom fail. In fact, TVs only fail at a three percent rate in the first four years of ownership. Why would anyone buy a warranty when you have a 97 percent that your TV will work for numerous years?

Editor's note: To find a deal for yourself, Clark recommends watching the sales circulars in the Sunday paper or checking DealNews.com frequently to see what's on sale.
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