updated 11:05 am EDT, Wed May 23, 2012
Samsung and Sony take a gamble by enforcing HDTV pricing
Samsung and Sony, among the biggest and most popular TV makers, have began to enforce minimum selling prices of their products at retailers. The move is meant to maintain profits and keep large electronics retailers from competing on price online, according to a Wall Street Journal report. It would also help prevent shoppers from looking at a TV in a store before going on to buy it at an online-only retailer, whose lower overhead costs allows it to sell for less.
The sales of TVs have slowed recently, despite price drops and larger screens. The move could be a risky one, however, pushing sales even further down. Previously, manufacturers worried that they would lose sales to other makers based on price.
Some retailers are excited about the change, as the price competition got so fierce that they would make razor-thin profits on expensive TV sets.
The policy was started by Samsung and Sony last month, though it's not revealed what the consequences of not following the rules would be. Industry officials believe that financing for marketing to retailers may be cut off, and maybe even TV shipments stopped to those who didn't follow the rules.
LG, Panasonic, and Sharp don't have such pricing enforcements, so Samsung and Sony may lose sales to these companies.