From a story in today's USA Today:
"A year ago, a 37-inch flat-panel model typically cost about $4,000. Now, some can be found for as little as $1,100, says television analyst Rosemary Abowd at Pacific Media Associates. From January to May, the most recent data available, average flat-panel prices tumbled more than 12%, she says."
While this is stunning to me, it's not nearly as amazing as the fact that, just a few years ago, most 40+ inch plasmas were going for over $10,000 bucks and couldn't be found in most "big box" electronic retail stores. You had to go to high-end A/V shops to get them. Today, by contrast, when you walk into Best Buy and Circuit City and are surrounded by walls full of flat-panel displays, many of which are dipping below the $2000 price point as the USA Today story suggests.
We've seen the same thing happen with other high-end electronics too, like progressive DVD players and surround sound receivers. I heard the other day that Circuit City is now going to be carrying Denon products, one the best names in the business of consumer electronics and previously only available at very high-end establishments. (I own a killer Denon upscaling DVD player that plays all my surround sound audio discs as well. I love it. Until you've heard Pink Floyd and The Flaming Lips in 5.1 surround, you haven't lived life to the fullest!) Meanwhile, Best Buy now has their "Magnolia" mini-stores within many of their branches that cater to the truly high-end customers. They carry many of the high-end products I use in my home including my incredible Yamaha VX2600 surround sound receiver.
As a result, DVD players and A/V receivers that used to cost a month's salary can now be had for a couple hundred bucks. Just amazing when you think about it. I have a closet full of "retired" consumer electronics gear that is now just gathering dust. It just makes me sick to think what I spent on all that stuff considering that the gear I've got in my living room now cost thousands less and provides a vastly superior audio and video experience.
(No policy angle to all this. I'm just consistently amazed by the wonders of capitalism.)