Flat Panel, Thin Margins

Rugged competition from smaller brands has made the TV sets cheaper than ever

Like just about everyone else checking out the flat-panel TVs at Best Buy in Manhattan, graphic designer Roy Gantt came in coveting a Philips (PHG), Sony (SNE), or Panasonic (MC). But after seeing the price tags, he figured a Westinghouse might be a better buy. At $800, the Westinghouse 32-in. set seems like a steal compared with $950 to $1,400 for better-known brands. Plus, the name sounds comfortingly familiar. "I think they make home appliances—things like that," says Gantt.

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