Bigger Isn’t Always Better for Flat-Screen Buyers

Sep 10, 2008  •  Post A Comment

U.S. flat-screen television buyers say size doesn’t matter much, according to a survey released this week. Of course, they may be lying.
About one in three consumers whose annual income is between $25,000 and $100,000 said picture quality was the most important factor in the decision to buy a new flat-panel TV, electronics-component research firm iSuppli said in a report this week. That criterion was more important than factors such as price and brand name, reflecting the rapid adoption of high-definition TV service in North America.
Fewer than one in 10 consumers in that income bracket said size mattered most, iSuppli said.
“Since the inception of the flat-panel television market, much of the focus has been on size, with suppliers focusing on making larger panels at lower costs,” Riddhi Patel, principal analyst at iSuppli, said in a statement. “However, in recent times, attention has shifted to picture quality, with consumers placing increasing value on television front-of-screen performance.”
iSuppli’s results are consistent with a DisplaySearch report in June that said North American household penetration of 1080-pixel sets would almost double to about 50% between this year and 2011; however, they may tell a different story than DisplaySearch’s estimate of North American TV sizes. DisplaySearch said the average TV screen size would approach 36 inches by the end of next year, up almost two inches from the end of 2007. That growth rate is slowing, though, as the average TV size jumped six inches between 2005 and the end of last year, DisplaySearch says.
While the importance of picture quality is fairly consistent among all tax brackets, iSuppli said, price was almost twice as important for those making less than $50,000 as it was for those making more than $200,000 a year, while the reverse was true for brand name. Factors such as availability at a particular store and the type of technology used in the set also increased in importance as the customer’s income grew, iSuppli said.


  1. Note error in 5th paragraph. It should read “1080p” instead of “1080-pixel.” The “p” stands for progressive and refers to the scanning scheme. It does not represent pixels.

  2. While screens may get larger or cheaper for some time to come, it makes little sense to scale up to sizes that don’t fit in your living room. Better contrast, home theater interfaces, real 1920x1080P at 240hz, better HDMI interfaces, better PC interfaces and more custom display memory are better than bigger once your screen is big enough.

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