Prices remain good to help get rid of inventory. But the recession also means that inventory is thin and manufacturers and retailers are less able to offer blowout specials. "You're not as likely to see the 0% financing promotions of years past," Gagnon said.
If you see a terrific price on a TV you like, grab it. Which brings us back to Best Buy, where prices in the Magnolia section range from about $2,700 to $6,000.
My faithful, 27-inch Panasonic TV that had served me well for nearly 20 years finally died. It had been convalescing for at least six months, during which I increasingly had to slap it on the back like burping a baby to get the picture to appear. Then with a quiet "poof," it was gone -- a fate awaiting my budget if I stuck around Magnolialand.
"For what you paid for it back then, you could probably get a 42-inch flat-panel TV now," Patel said.
Still, nothing I saw at Best Buy and its competitors grabbed me. In this era of YouTube and Hulu, most of the TV I watch is available online.
I miss the all-news channels, but when a huge story breaks, these channels usually go live online anyway.
It just didn't seem like the time to spend at least several hundred dollars on a TV.
Besides, I need to get some new furniture. That sofa in the Magnolia section looked mighty comfortable.