Despite having been dismissed and overpriced, 55" 3D TVs are now enjoying a comeback and will soon cost as much, if not less, than their non-3D counterparts of the same size. Twice this year we've seen the price difference between these two categories diminish to as little as $50. And, with Black Friday approaching, you should keep an eye on a few specific 55" LCD TVs that we expect to see some of the best discounts.
3D HDTVs Have More Features & Are Backed by Brand Names
The average price of a 55" non-3D LCD TV this year has hovered around $524. By comparison, the average price for a 55" 3D LCD TV in 2013 has been $692. But in April, we saw both categories converge at $500, which at the time was an all-time low price for 55" 3D TVs. Since then, prices on 55" 3D TVs have fluctuated; however, in July we saw deals on both 3D and regular HDTVs come within $50 of each other. This incremental price difference is possibly a sign that 55" non-3D TV prices are bottoming out and/or that 55" 3D TVs are getting ready to hit new, lower prices.
As such, this holiday season we're predicting 55" 3D TVs will actually be cheaper than their non-3D counterparts, falling to as low as $425. Meanwhile, regular, non-3D TVs will be available, on average, for $429. These price points are predictions based on the HDTV deals we've been seeing, and while the savings may seem minimal, 3D TVs actually have much more to offer.
For starters, there aren't as many off-brand manufacturers making 55" 3D TVs, so almost 100% of the deals we see on 55" 3D TVs come from big names like LG, Samsung, VIZIO, and Panasonic. By contrast, the overwhelming majority of non-3D 55" TV deals come from Colby, Insignia, and ProScan. So in terms of quality, the 3D TVs will offer better picture performance and perhaps nicer designs.
Likewise in terms of features, many regular, non-3D TVs are simple panels: they don't offer built-in WiFi, app streaming, or even a multitude of HDMI ports. 3D TVs, on the other hand, generally pack built-in WiFi, Smart TV capabilities, and a minimum of three HDMI ports. Value-wise, you're getting more for your dollar by opting for 3D.
November HDTV Deals to Discount 2012 Models
November is typically a fire sale month for all budget HDTVs, but 55" 3D LCDs have typically not been part of the deal bonanza. However, with both 32" and 42" LCD TV prices hitting rock bottom at roughly $180, 55" 3D LCDs may be the next TV category that sees a flurry of deals. That said, stronger deals on these sets will likely appear in December and January, so if you don't see a 55" 3D LCD at our predicted price of $425 in November, there's still a chance you might see it in the weeks that follow.
To date, the best 55" 3D TV deals this year have come from Fry's and TigerDirect. We also recommend looking for deals from other big box retailers like Best Buy and Walmart, which year after year deliver knock-out TV deals during the holidays. And finally remember that the best holiday discounts will be found on last year's models. So though you may see a few deals on 2013's crop of 3D TVs, for the deepest savings your best bet is to opt for the 2012 models. In some cases, the performance upgrades on the 2013 sets are minimal, so you won't miss much by settling for an older model.
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