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Holiday sales: How low will HDTV prices go?

A new report predicts prices for Black Friday will include a $499 plasma TV and a $149 Blu-ray player.

Is it too early to look forward to holiday price drops while you wait to buy a new HDTV? Not if you're in the market for a no-name model, according to The site predicts that plasma TV prices on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that kicks off the holiday buying spree, will fall to as low as $499 for a 42-inch model and $699 for a 50-incher. Meanwhile a $149 Blu-ray player may be in the offing, again from a no-name brand, along with $10 Blu-ray discs.

The upcoming DTV transition will help contribute to the price drops, according to the article, and as usual, plasma is less-expensive than LCD on an inch-for-inch basis. "LCD prices will remain higher than plasma, but they'll still dip considerably, with generic 42-inch 720p LCD HDTVs going for $599. Additionally, look for name-brand 46-inch or 47-inch 1080p LCD HDTVs to hit $799, and larger 52-inch 1080p HDTVs to drop to $1,199."

Those predictions sound solid to us, and the accent here is on no-name brands. In previous years, we've seen TVs from from Westinghouse, Maxent and Vizio advertised as loss-leaders designed to draw bargain hunters in on Black Friday. This year even lesser-known brands are likely to hit those price points, while the $149 Blu-ray player might come from Insignia or Magnavox.

Those brands don't float your boat? Wait, says dealnews. "Last year, the best time to buy a good TV wasn't on Black Friday. It was three weeks before Christmas. At that time, Fry's and Amazon went to war on high-end LCD HDTVs (most notably Samsung 1080p 120Hz LCD TVs from 40 inches and up), slashing prices again and again. The general rule is, Black Friday is the best time of the year to buy no-name TVs. December is the best time to buy high-end TVs."

Source: dealnews via TVPredictions.

What do you think? Is it worth waiting now that the Holidays are in sight, or would you rather enjoy that HDTV now? Are you holding out for a killer bargain on a no-name TV, or do you have your eye set on a brand-name model that may drop in price between now and the end of the year?