The U.S may be struggling with one of the worst economic downturns in modern times, but electronics giant Samsung says that consumers are still willing to pay top dollar for state-of-the-art TVs.

The Korean firm recently unveiled a slew of flat-screen LED TVs, touting the technology as the next big thing in home entertainment. The ultra-thin screens use edge-mounted LEDs to boost contrast and image quality, and they also consume 40% less power than similarly sized LCD TVs, according to Samsung.

LED TVs undoubtedly offer crystal-clear image quality, but they do so at a price. Samsung's flagship 55-inch 8000 Series costs a whopping $3,999, but Tim Baxter, president of the company's consumer electronics division, says these big-ticket items still have an audience.

"We are going after the two-, three-time purchaser of high-def TVs," he told TheStreet.com. "We're mindful that you have to give consumers a great value, and we think we do that."

Technology research firm iSuppli says that LED TVs only account for 1% of LCD TV shipments but predicts this will grow significantly over the next few years, reaching 13.7 million units, or 42% of the total LCD TV market, by 2013.

With Samsung, Sony ( SNE), LG and Sharp all pushing LED TVs in the U.S. market and Philips touting the TVs in Europe, the high-definition, mercury-free technology is slowly gaining a toe-hold.

"I think that it's just starting; this is just the beginning point," said Sweta Dash, iSuppli's senior director of LCD research. "Availability of products has gone up, and that is creating a lot of interest in consumers' minds."

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