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Price of flat-panel TVs now equal to CRT models

The year 2009 was when it happened. Finally, the price of several sizes of flat-panel TV sets now cost the same as their picture-tube predecessors.

According to iSuppli, a research firm, the average selling price of a 23in LCD set is $451; three years ago it was $752. The average price of a 32in LCD is $600, about half of the $1182 ticket in 2006. In the stores, flat-panel prices are even lower. Wal-Mart is selling a 32in Vizio LCD for $400 and a 22in HDTV from RCA for $250.

The price reductions, though good for consumers, are not so good for the manufacturers of TV sets. The price of LCD panels has risen. Yet, with cutbacks on spending, retailers continue to lower prices to keep sales moving. The attitude of manufacturers has long been driven by market share, not profitability.