When Neil Saval and his wife closed on their Baltimore home, his first purchase wasn’t a piece of contemporary art or a plush sofa — it was a Panasonic 60-inch flat-screen television.
“The day I settled on the house, the installers were delivering the new TV,” the 29-year-old system engineer said. “My wife jokes with me that before we had any furniture, we had to get the TV.”
Big-screen televisions are getting bigger and better and more in demand. They’re joined by a slew of state-of-the-art accouterments such as movie theater-quality sound systems and high-tech projection capability, as well as a camouflaged approach to installation.
“Televisions are bigger, thinner, cooler, better and brighter than ever,” said Kevin Luskin, owner of the Big Screen Store in Towson, Md. “They are not intrusive. They can go anywhere.”
Seventy-inch televisions are now frequently purchased for bedrooms, according to Luskin. “The old days of the 30-inch TV in the bedroom has gone to the wayside,” he said.
Recently there has been a push to better incorporate these huge televisions and projectors into existing home decor. With the touch of a button, screens drop from the ceiling. In some homes, flat-screen televisions have taken the place of large paintings on walls. And accessories such as speakers are now built to blend into the room.
“My family room looks like a normal family room,” said Brian Hudkins, president of Gramophone. “When we want to watch a movie, we push a button, the screen comes down and we have a 100-inch projector screen with surround sound.”
Hudkins calls the new approach “stealth installation.” “The technology disappears,” he said.
When Saval purchased his television, the Big Screen Store suggested the 60-inch television, based on the dimensions of his family room. Saval calls it the “perfect size” for the room.
“It looks like a picture framed on the wall,” he says. “There are no wires showing. It looks clean and crisp and doesn’t look messy.”
“It’s awesome. It feels like you are actually there,” he said. “I don’t need to go the movies anymore. I can get live streamed videos and TV shows and all that good stuff.”
A decrease in prices has been accompanied by an increase in quality, retailers say.
“The quality of the picture is getting better and better,” Hudkins said. “As a result, screens can get bigger and the picture quality has gotten better.”
Packages can run anywhere from $2,000 for a 65-inch television with “smart” features to just over $10,000 for a 120-inch screen, state-of-the-art projector and top-quality surround sound, according to Hudkins.
As television manufacturers have battled one another to release newer, better models, prices have “trailed down,” which has increased the affordability of the product, according to Luskin.
“In the next year you are going to see a greater volume of big-screen televisions and projectors, which will bring down prices,” he said. “They’ve improved their brightness. The graininess is not there. The screens have gotten much better.”