Plasma televisions cost a fraction of what they did six years ago and prices may drop further, after a boom during the soccer World Cup.
Industry analysts say plasma and LCD TV buyers are paying about 65 per cent less than in 2003, with the average price dropping from $15,000 in the lead-up to the Sydney Olympics to just $3193 today.
In the past 18 months alone, prices have fallen almost 30 per cent.
As a result, retailers of plasma and LCD TVs have seen a huge increase in sales. Between January and May last year, 56,242 plasma televisions were sold, worth $246 million. Figures for the same period this year showed a 217 per cent growth in plasma television sets sold. They had an average price of $3186.
A group account director for the independent market analysts GfK Australia, Derek Nash, said an enthusiasm to update technology during a big sporting event was responsible for the strong growth, along with a 27 per cent price drop.
"[Standard analog] television still remains the biggest seller, and the total market is not getting any bigger," Mr Nash said. "There’s still plenty of people in the marketplace happy to pick up a second or third TV for about $250, so the date of extinction is hard to predict."
In 2004, plasma screen sales represented about 4 per cent of all TVs sold, and LCD screens another 2.5 per cent. However, the retailer Harvey Norman says plasma and LCD sets now make up half of its total television sales.
A leap in sales leading up to the World Cup was thought to have rescued the retailer from a weak fourth quarter.
Ross Morgan, the marketing manager of Harvey Norman’s electrical division, said increased turnover had more than offset the cost of price cutting, but he dismissed the suggestion of an impending glut.