May 28, 1999
Consumers paid as much as 33 percent extra to purchase a premium brand television in 1997, holding other features constant. Buyers of TVs spent 9 percent extra for a universal/learning remote, 20 percent for free delivery, and 26 percent for picture-in-picture with two tuners.
Sophisticated remotes and high-end brand names were more common in new TVs than the other two features shown in the chart. Just over 43 percent of TVs had universal/learning remotes, and almost 28 percent of TVs had a premium brand name. About 7 percent had picture-in-picture with two tuners, and approximately 6 percent had free delivery.
There were 21.3 million color TVs sold in 1997 in the U.S. Over half of them had stereo sound, a feature previously considered to be a luxury, and one in ten was sold with a built-in VCR.
These findings are from a study, "Research on improved quality adjustment in the CPI: The case of televisions" published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Proceedings of the Fourth Meeting of the International Working Group on Price Indices, January 1999. The study is available on request from Monthly Labor Review: The Editor’s Desk.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Consumers pay more for desired features on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/may/wk4/art04.htm (visited September 30, 2014).
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