GARNER, N.C. — Sales of high-definition television sets are booming. Nearly 4 million HDTV sets were sold nationwide last year and that number is expected to grow to 5 million in 2004.
Some Carolina Panthers fans who cannot make it to the Super Bowl are buying HDTVs to take in the action.
"It seems like it takes an important event like this to finally get people to open their wallet," said Panthers fan Walter Weglar.
Weglar promised to host a Super Bowl party
the Panthers made it that far. Now he is joining others, like Mark Kuenzi, in a search for a big screen before the game.
"We watch a lot of sports and a lot of sportscasts coming in HD now, so makes it a lot more fun. We can't go to all the games so it brings us closer to the action," Kuenzi said.
The Super Bowl will be broadcast in high definition, but be careful if you are looking to buy a TV for the game.
"You can't just take home a digital TV or a high-definition TV and plug it in and get a high-definition picture. Even if you have digital cable, that's not high definition," explained Adam Saad of Garner TV and Appliance.
An HD adapter with cable is required. It is an HD box, but there is a waiting list for those right now. That is not stopping fans like Weglar.
"It's the Panthers. They're in the Super Bowl and it's worth it," he said.
Would shoppers be in the store replacing their regular TVs for the high-definition screens if it were not for the Super Bowl?
"Not today, I wouldn't. No, not this soon," Weglar said. "I probably would've waited either until the summer or next Christmas because of the decision and the amount of money involved."
But it is the Panthers and there is no time to procrastinate.
Buying an HDTV big screen for the Super Bowl is not cheap. Projection TVs start at $1,200; plasma screens can cost as much as $6,000 or more.