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4 reasons to go HD NOW...


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For those still in SD or looking to upgrade their HDTV's:


Prices may go up

In previous years, the price of an HDTV plummeted by as much as 30% within a year of its market debut. Now, waiting for a better deal no longer pays, explains CNET's Katzmaier. A 32-inch HDTV that costs $599, for example, most likely cost the same amount six months ago.


In fact, prices could soon move in the opposite direction, says Enderle. China, which produces most TVs sold in the United States, will have to raise prices in order to offset increased production costs as it strives to offer better benefits and wages to factory workers. The Chinese yuan also continues to improve its value against the weakening dollar, pushing prices higher for American shoppers.


Bigger selection

"The prospect of looking at static in early February is going to have a lot of people buying in January," predicts Enderle. But, he cautions, those shoppers may find it difficult to get the model they want. "There's likely to be a rush, and we may have supply shortages."


Again, the problem stems from China. The country is temporarily shutting down polluting factories to improve air quality before the summer Olympics. Combined with other cost-increasing factors, the closings will limit the number of TVs it's able to export.


No new technology worth holding out for

Tech-wise, there's no advantage to waiting a few months to buy an HDTV, says Dan Havlik, editor of tech education site DemystifyingDigital.com. Most of the latest models hitting the shelves offer merely gimmicky add-ons such as a red frame or an RSS feeder that imports weather and stock data.


The next big advancement -– thinner, brighter and more energy-efficient organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens -- is years away from mainstream accessibility, says Havlik. The only model currently on the market, the 11-inch Sony XEL-1, sells for a whopping $2,500.


Sales on last year's models

As the next generation of HDTVs hits the shelves, you can snag a substantial discount on last year's models -- without sacrificing quality.


The 32-inch Sharp Aquos is $999 at Best Buy, a $400 discount to its original price. In comparison, the newly-released model costs $1,299.99, and offers only minor upgrades, like a PC input port and simulated surround sound.


Consumers can boost their bargain by taking advantage of economic-stimulus rebate sales, says Enderle. Sears, for example, is offering an additional 10% bonus when you convert your tax rebate into a store gift card by July 19. RadioShack is offering an extra 10% off purchases of $50 or more through July 12.


From: Smartmoney

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