From big to giant: Behemoth TVs start to take off

A customer walks past a display featuring a Samsung 78-inch curved television on display at a Best Buy store in Greenwood, Ind. The 78-inch television is flanked by 65-inch versions. Americans increasingly are replacing their once-enviable 50-inch TVs with even bigger screens.
  • Trend also in Crossroads

  • By Jessica RodrigoJRODRIGO@VICAD.COMBigger is better in the Crossroads, too.

    Shoppers are showing a growing interest toward TVs larger than 55 inches, said Jason Luig, an assistant manager at Sam's Club.

    "We're up to 80-inch TVs now," he said.

    When flat-screen ...

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  • Trend also in Crossroads

    By Jessica RodrigoJRODRIGO@VICAD.COMBigger is better in the Crossroads, too.

    Shoppers are showing a growing interest toward TVs larger than 55 inches, said Jason Luig, an assistant manager at Sam's Club.

    "We're up to 80-inch TVs now," he said.

    When flat-screen televisions started making their way to the market, it wasn't as common to see the larger screens, he said.

    Prices have fallen for TVs, also making it more affordable for consumers to invest in the larger screens.

    "For those that maybe bought 40-inch TVs in the past, it doesn't seem like a big TV any longer," Luig said.

    Internet capabilities have also surpassed those of the 3-D models, he said.

    "Wi-Fi is definitely one of those features that is growing," Luig said. "It's a popular item for people to look for in a TV right now."

NEW YORK (AP) - Supersized isn't just for french fries.

Americans increasingly are replacing their once-enviable 50-inch TVs with even bigger screens. Think 65 inches and up.

People are snagging big screens - pushing sales up 50 percent in the past year while overall TV sales have faltered. As prices fall, hard-core TV watchers and video gamers are finding sets affordable that a few years ago would have been playthings for wealthier people.

Jarvis Jackson, for instance, plans to spend up to $1,500 for a 65-inch TV with Internet capability. Jackson, who lives in Birmingham, Ala., says he'll scale back on dining out and postpone other purchases to make room in his budget.

"You definitely can tell the difference between a 55-inch and a larger size TV," Jackson says. "To get the right TV is important, especially when football season is coming up."

Shoppers like Jackson are being enticed by new technologies like Internet capability that allows Netflix streaming and Ultra HD screens, which offer a sharper picture.

Falling prices have also made big screens more accessible to the average person: TV prices overall have fallen 9 to 11 percent, and the average price of a 50-inch TV is down $75 from two years ago to $573, according to research firm NPD Group.

"TVs are more affordable than they've ever been, so a 'supersized' TV today is still far less expensive than smaller screens were three or four years ago," says Jamie Bastian, a spokeswoman for Target, which expanded its selection of big-screen TVs to include 70-inch versions this year.

Although TVs 65 inches or bigger account for just 2 percent of sets sold, they're the bright spot in a market that has been slumping in part because more people are using tablets and cellphones to stream movies and TV shows.

Overall, TVs 50 inches and bigger accounted for 25 percent of the sets sold in the past 12 months, up from 14 percent in 2012. NPD expects the figure to reach 30 percent this year.

The advent of flat screens and high-definition television prompted a rush to upgrade a decade ago, but things like 3-D TVs have failed to entice buyers in recent years. But experts say Ultra HD is a simple enough upgrade to gain widespread adoption in the next few years.

While overall TV sales have dropped as much as 10 percent annually since 2010, big-screen TVs have become the fastest-growing category. During the year that ended April, 800,000 65-inch TVs or larger were sold, a 69 percent jump.