Cheap TV's

Reporter: Helen Wellings

Specials galore, grab 'em while you can - that's what retailers are urging us to do ... now.

Plasmas, LCDs, DVD recorders, Blu-ray disc player - in fact all sorts of audio and electronic products, even whitegoods, are being discounted to the hilt.

"There's no better time to buy if you're after that 50 inch plasma screen or you know a little surround sound system, there's really no better time to buy than right now" says Tony.

Tony Stantzos of Audio Solutions says buy right now because already, prices on some of the latest imports have started to creep up, but in a couple of weeks, we'll see sharp price hikes on a range of electronics products - including flat screen TVs.

"All of the major manufacturers have indicated that their prices are going to go up and it could be between 10 and 30 per cent depending on how the economy goes" says Chris.

Chris Jager of GoodGearGuide which assesses value and performance of electronic goods, says because of the Aussie dollar's fall against the US dollar and the Japanese yen, the currencies manufacturers buy in, imports going to be more expensive. 80% to 90% of plasma panels are made by Panasonic in China, others in Japan. LCDs - the majors.. Sharp in Japan, Sony in Japan and China, Samsung in Korea.

"A TV that costs three thousand dollars now it could go up by as much as like a thousand dollars… they're probably going to do in around February, late February. So um the prices haven't gone up yet but they will very soon so you gotta be quick" adds Chris.

The past few months have been very slow for many retailers. Consequently, they're sitting on unsold stock at last year's prices. So you could save 10 to 15% on discounted products - that could be $500 on a better quality LCD or plasma.

Scott Lindsay of Harvey Norman says there are some great deals in normally expensive plasmas. "If you're in to lots of high action you know sports and movies, then plasma's a great buy. But if you have room then you probably would want to look at an LCD, cause it's backlit and it'll give you a better picture in a really bright room."

The GoodGearGuide gave us their latest best buys in LCDs. In the cheaper category - Panasonic Viera - $1999, Sharp LC- - $1799. Mid-range Toshiba REGZA - $3299, Sony Bravia - $3399. Expensive - Samsung Series 9 - $5499, Sony KDL - $6099.

"you should just stick to the famous brands, the Sony's, the Panasonics, the kind of cheap and no name brands usually... You get what you pay for basically" says Chris.

Retailers are competing fiercely for your dollar, and in the short term, no reasonable offer will be refused.

GoodGearGuide Best Buys in Televisions

Website: www.goodgearguide.com.au

BUDGET:

Panasonic Viera TX-32LZD800A ($1999)

"Sharp images, well balanced colours, good motion handling."

Sharp LC-37D33X

"Great colour, excellent detail in dark areas, motion is well handled"

MID RANGE:

Toshiba REGZA 46XV500A ($3299)

"Great picture quality, great HD and SD performance"

Sony Bravia KDL40Z4500 ($3399)

"Great 200Hz motion mode, excellent contrast and blacks, DLNA certified, good SD performance for a 1080p screen."

EXPENSIVE:

Samsung Series 9 (LA46A950) ($5499)

"Incredible blacks, fantastic colours, sharp image, handles motion well, lots of bonus features. Best LCD on market."

Sony KDL-46XBR45 ($6099)

Great contrast and black levels, LED back-lighting