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More Americans buying big TVs despite economic recession

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It’s a beautiful day outside. But lots of Americans – maybe even you – are spending part of it in front of a big flat-panel TV. Sales of the high-definition sets are up by close to 20 percent over last year, even amid the recession.

Consumer behavior researcher Britt Beemer has a clue about why.

Britt Beemer: "There’s a higher demand because over the last four years we’ve seen major deflation on TVs. You know, five years ago, these flat TV sets were selling for $1,499 and above, today they are selling for $499 and above. So you are seeing that, the sale level, be driven by the lower price points more than anything else."

Beemer told KPCC’s "Patt Morrison" that the nationwide conversion from analog to digital TV signals also boosted the popularity of widescreen sets. Some economists figure that buying a nice home entertainment system is cheaper than taking a vacation or indulging in other luxuries.