It really is a race to the bottom in many areas, even manufacturers are joining in. For example many of the 2012/2013 Samsung TV's had a lot less inputs, weren't as thin etc as the 2011/2012 models. Now some of the Panasonic's in the 2013/2014 range have reduced some features to save money.
I noticed that too, some of the sony LED ones look thicker than the model I got a few years ago, but they are also cheaper.
But these companies can't do too much cost cutting, as the product have to still be reliable for the NZ market due to the CGA. They can possibly get away with less reliable products in countries which don't have this consumer protection.