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Flat-screen TVs, game consoles top holiday list

What's hot this holiday season in consumer electronics are big-screen televisions, new video gaming consoles, digital cameras and notebook PCs.

What's not so hot this year includes DVD players and recorders, desktop computers, and home stereo systems and accessories, analysts said.

With some 33 percent of shoppers picking up consumer electronics or computer-related accessories over the first weekend of the holiday sales season, according to the National Retail Federation, gadgets are a big chunk of profits for companies such as Sony Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Computer Inc.

Falling prices for big-screen TVs, including rear-projection systems in addition to LCD and plasma TVs should entice consumers and lower prices for digital cameras with higher resolution are also fueling appeal this holiday season, the most important cycle for the retail industry.

"No. 1 are big-screen televisions," said analyst Stephen Baker of market research firm NPD Group. "They're not horribly complicated and they're not terribly expensive. You can get them now and don't have to wait for prices to fall."

For example, a 32-inch LCD TV can be had for about $700, a 37-inch unit for about $1,000, and for a 40-inch or 42-inch LCD TV, the price is about $1,300, Baker said.

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