The economy may be heaving, but at least there's one item that can be counted on: televisions. North American shipments jumped 28 percent in the second quarter, according to research firm DisplaySearch. One big reason is that the price of TV sets, unlike cereal or chicken, have been coming down big-time (Peter Kafka at Silicon Alley Insider says Best Buy is selling a 32-incher for $499). Even the monster 70-plus inch sets are in the low four-figures. This is just another lesson in American consumerism: Folks might not be able to swing a new house or car, but they've got to buy something, right? As Kafka notes, however, the price cuts have eaten into margins - so much so that Sony head Howard Stringer told a conference that "If we have any more success we'll be bankrupt."
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