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Report: Plasma TV, notebook prices drop

Prices still dropping on most consumer electronics prices, though CD players are spiking, NPD Group says.

Prices of consumer electronics products continued to nose-dive in May, with plasma television taking a huge fall, according to pricing data released by NPD Group on Thursday.

The price of 42-inch enhanced definition plasma TVs dropped $86 from April, while 32-inch direct view TV prices fell $52. Portable DVD players cost $30 less compared with the previous month, the market researchers said, and 15-inch notebooks declined $65.

NPD attributed the downward trend of plasma prices to "good availability and wide acceptance" of the product. Plasma makers and retailers are pricing aggressively, particularly for entry-level models.

The monthly pricing monitor of NPD is based on 27 product categories, including televisions, computers, cameras and media players. In May, retail prices for goods in this basket dropped another 3.1 percent, the sharpest sequential fall since November. In April, the fall was 2 percent. The overall value of the products is now pegged at $12,362, which is more than $1,000 lower than what it was at the beginning of the year, and about $2,600 lower than in May 2003. This amounts to a decline of 17.4 percent over the past year.

Prices of standard DVD players jumped 11 percent from April to May, and portable CD players were up 9 percent. The market for standalone single-disc DVD players is dwindling as companies focus more on feature-rich gizmos.

"Pricing on portable CD players is likely to remain constant at this price level," Stephen Baker, the group's director of industry analysis, said in a statement. "Despite their mature status and low price, this category has seen some trends towards falling price levels over the part three months, as selling prices have dropped below $35 for three consecutive months for the first time."