Great news for TV bargain hunters! Well, ones with some patience. After the prices for the LCD panels used in lots of the best TVs rose severely over the course of 2020 and 2021, they've been dropping just as dramatically since, and according to a report from DigiTimes, that's likely to continue until well into 2022.
This means that as TV makers start to gear up for production of next-year's sets, the price of the really, really important part (it's hard to make a TV without a screen) should give them some flexibility on price.
Cheaper parts doesn't automatically translate into cheaper TVs, we should note. Especially with the global shortage in chips meaning that the crucial processors that modern TVs use could well rise in price. Or, rather than dropping the price, TV makers might choose to put the saved money into adding more extra features to the best TVs under £1000, best TVs under $1000 and best TVs under £500.
That could include brighter screens, more advanced contrast control, better speakers, or bringing the next-gen gaming heaven of HDMI 2.1 ports to lower-priced TVs, which would delight PS5 and Xbox Series X owners.
But even if that happens with mid-range TVs, I'll bet that there will just be a down and dirty wrestle for even cheaper prices at the budget end of the market especially. 50 inches for £300? It's possible.
This year was interesting for TV prices, because the LCD price increases came at the same time as OLED TV production got expanded, so the best OLED TVs were able to bring prices down right as the previously cheaper LCD models were having to look at coming up, bringing the two into closer competition than we've had in years.
On top of the core cost of the LCD panels, Samsung and LG both also introduced new mini-LED backlights to their range, bringing the price up further, but also pushing image quality to new heights – as our rave Samsung QN900A review, Samsung QN95A review and Samsung QN85A review all attest.
Those sets have all seen their prices drop rapidly, mercifully, and if next year companies can add mini-LED to more affordable models thanks to a drop in the prices of LCD panels, then OLED could be in for a rude awakening, because it's not expected to see anything like the same kind of price plummet.
This is all speculation, of course, and I should clarify that I'm not saying that if you were thinking of buying today that you should definitely wait until next year. We've seen so much disruption of deliveries and manufacturing this year alone that I'd say waiting for future versions is an inherently risky business.
But it's always great news to see that technology could become more affordable, and I hope this is the catalyst for even more features from higher-end TVs to become available to those on a budget.