By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY, NSW: Predictably, major sporting events like the Olympic Games every four year are a major driver of TV sales, but in September this year, spending on flat panel TV is up 22 per cent, according to the latest GfK TEMAX report.

The GfK TEMAX report for Q3 2009 shows a clear picture on flat panel TV sales, which account for over 60 per cent of the total Consumer Electronics category sales.

Last year the Olympic Games inflated TV sales, but sales are still holding up in this non-Olympic year. According to GfK, TV sales are up 22 per cent in September, with LCD driving up sales in the category while plasma TV sales showed some value decline.

Competition is fierce at the high-end of the flat panel TV category, according to GfK, with the large, full HD models experiencing price erosion due to promotions and cross-category giveaways.

The digital switchover message must be getting out to consumers however as GfK also reports that the recent trend of high double-digit growth in set top boxes continued in quarter 3, with a value increase of 88 per sent. High Definition (HD) set top boxes accounted for 93 per cent of the total category value.

Interestingly, GfK also reports that PVRs (set top boxes with built-in hard disk drives for recording TV content) are proving less popular than non-PVR set top boxes with 50 per cent growth compared to 110 per cent growth of the non-PVR models.

Blu-ray is a warrior though. Having disposed of its HD DVD competition over a year ago, Blu-ray is now starting to wear down its standard definition rival, DVD. GfK reports an overall quarter on quarter decline of 4 per cent in the DVD player category, as well as an increase in Blu-ray hardware models, software SKUs, and promotional activity.