Another drop: 42-inch plasma for $799

Brace yourselves, people. Plasma prices are dropping again.

It's $799
The $799 42-inch plasma with elves

You may have already seen this if you have cable TV (and don't automatically skip over infomercials), but Big Lots is offering a 42-inch plasma TV from Sylvania for $799. That's $400 off the regular price and down $200 from the 42-inch plasma that Vizio cranked out for Black Friday.

Granted, it's always possible that you might find a better deal out there, but this one is pretty good. The store chain has 4,000 in stock, with a minimum of three per store and a limit of one per family. Look at the excitement of the lady with the Brittania jeans. She's going to buy one.

From the ad, it's unclear whether the TV Sylvania offers is a high-def plasma or not--Sylvania offers both. It might be only a regular plasma. But Amazon is also offering a 42-inch Sylvania plasma that accepts both 720 and 1080i input, according to the product description, for $799.

What's behind this? A couple of things. First, there are a lot of people in the TV business these days, so manufacturers have to try every means and outlet to make sure their inventory gets out there and gets noticed. Second, the 40- to 49-inch TV market is this year's Gettysburg for the plasma vs. LCD war. Plasma has dominated this space, but LCD has crept in. If LCD gets a toehold here, the technology will move to the 50-inch market. "We will fight them in the trenches, in the airwaves and in aisle 5A," a pained plasma exec might say.

Plus, when you are at Big Lots you can pick up a 60-inch metal wind chime (how decorative!) and a wet/dry ladies rechargeable shaver. Remember: The only thing we have to fear is fear of a good bargain.

About the author

    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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