We still have a week to go before Black Friday -- the day after Thanksgiving in the United States when retailers offer some of their best deals of the shopping season -- and Vizio has already announced a one-day price reduction on their 42-inch plasma. The sale at Costco will mark the first time a high-definition-ready set of that size will be sold for less than $1000, which is considered by many analysts to be that magic number where mass adoption will kick off. As the predictions go, once consumers can see the bill for a HDTV starting out with only three digits in it, they will be much more likely to buy a new set to go with that PlayStation 3, or HD DVD add-on for the 360, or HD satellite. The Vizio VP42HDTV is a 42-inch 720p-capable plasma with HDMI, a 10,000:1 max contrast ratio, and an ATSC tuner. It's great news to see the prices for sets of all sizes and styles (CRT RPTVs, plasmas, LCDs, LCoSes, etc.) coming steadily down, and will spur that magical day when you can go to any relative's house for the Superbowl and not have to worry about watching on a standard-def set.
Postscript: When this article went live, no stats had been released on this newer VP42 model at Vizio's website. As a few commentors have noted, the native resolution on this set is only 1024x768 (as compared to the more-normal 1366x768 for its sibling the P42), which is slightly less than the commonly-accepted resolution of 1280x720 for HDTV, meaning it will scale all your content down to this XGA resolution. This means the pixels also have a 4:3 aspect ratio rather than 16:9. While the set is widescreen, the pixel count will not be, so take that as you will, we just wanted everyone to be informed consumers. Good luck this Friday, and thanks to all the comments that brought this important point to our attention!