>One reason is that this is normally the time of year (March and early April) when the new 2012 TV models start to arrive in stores, so many retailers may be looking to sell off any inventory of older 2011 sets to make room for the newer models.
But this year there's another compelling reason: Several major manufacturers are moving away from MAP (or Minimum Advertised Pricing) to something called Unilateral Pricing Policy (UPP), which penalizes retailers for selling a TV below the manufacturer's preset price.
Our friends at HD Guru first reported that both Samsung and then Sony are moving to UPP-style policies with step-up 2012 models. Apparently, the new policies go into effect on April 1st of this year.
Here's the big difference between the two pricing policies: With MAP pricing, a manufacturer can cut off co-op advertising funds if a retailer advertised a TV below a minimum price, which is why you often have to actually go through an online retailer's checkout before the price become visible. If the retailer is willing to lose those funds, it can sell the TV for whatever price it wants.
But with UPP, a manufacturer can cut off a retailer's product supplies if the retailer advertises or sells the TV for less than the predetermined minimum price. So basically, the TV's actual selling price is being set by the manufacturer, leaving little wiggle room for dealers to out-discount their competitors.<