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Holiday Buying Begins With Flat Screens in the Picture

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, November 24, 2005

The holiday buying season begins. And flat screens are in the picture. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The president of the Consumer Electronics Association, Gary Shapiro, says spending on new digital products this holiday season is expected to surpass the amount spent last year. In fact…the migration to flat screen LCD and plasma TVs…is happening faster than some manufacturers thought…

"It's been great for the consumer but somewhat difficult for some manufacturers. Prices have eroded rather quickly as more and more companies got into full scale production. So what we have now is many, many companies competing in plasma and the LCD space…and we're seeing price erosion because of that. So while the quantity and overall dollar volume is going up, certainly the margins and profits have gone down."

Sony has been one of the companies struggling with that. But its new line of Bravia LCD TVs is helping the company rebound. Stan Glasgow is president of consumer sales for Sony Electronics…

"Within the first few weeks of introduction, we were able to gain number one market share on dollar terms in the United States."

What's unique about Sony's approach with the Bravia line…is its bid to target advertising towards women. Glasgow says so far, so good…

"We had the strongest October in the history of Sony in the United States last and we think HD television is ripe and taking off.

And the introduction of Microsoft's Xbox360 game console…designed for high definition screens…may fuel demand even more. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.