No device embodies Black Friday quite like the HDTV. From the leaked ads to the doorbuster sales, HDTV deals can be found everywhere during Black Friday week — making it truly a prime time to purchase a new set.
Once again this year, we're predicting that several sizes will hit new all-time low prices at Black Friday. An important rule of thumb to keep in mind however is that most of these "rock-bottom" prices will be for sets from third-tier manufacturers. If you're interested in a high-end model from Samsung, it probably won't go as low as these predictions.
Best Bang for Your Buck in Small Sets: Opt for 42" Over 32"
Last Black Friday, we listed some spectacular HDTV deals, but none turned as many heads as the Sharp 42" 1080p LCD HDTV we saw in Best Buy's ad for $200. The in-store only deal blew away our prediction by a full $119, and it was an easy contender for best deal of the year. However, this year we're predicting that 42" 1080p LCD HDTVs will go even lower — albeit, slightly — and hit $189.
While $189 may seem very aggressive, it wouldn't be a first. In fact, last December a similar Sharp 42" 1080p LCD HDTV hit $189. (The deal was very short lived and lasted approximately 20 minutes on our site.) This year we're predicting that the $189 price point will be more widespread and comparatively more attainable. Whereas the aforementioned deals from last year required lightning-fast reflexes to score, you may have greater opportunity this year.
If 42" is too big for your living room, or if you need a new TV for your already-cramped bedroom, we predict that 32" 1080p LCD HDTVs will hit $159. (And for the record, our 32" HDTV prediction last year was right on the money down to the last dollar.) However, keep in mind that 42" HDTVs could hit $189, just $30 more. Unless you're really tight on space, a shopper will get the most value from a 42" set.
The 47" TV Becomes the New Entry Level Size
Not too long ago, 42" screens were the go-to size for HDTV owners. However, today's consumers are gradually upgrading to bigger TVs, particularly those with 46" or 47" screens. And as these sets go more mainstream, so to do the prices.
For most of 2012, we've found deals on 46" and 47" 1080p LCD HDTVs that have been lower than their best Black Friday mention from 2011. (See the chart to the right for more details; you can click to enlarge it.) As a result, many times throughout the summer we've reminded our readers to look out for deals on 47" sets. Not surprisingly, we're now predicting an aggressive Black Friday price point of $299. With 42" sets bottoming out at $189, 46" and 47" HDTVs are the new "entry level" TVs, giving retailers plenty of room to slash prices. We're thus doubling down and predicting that this size category, like 42" last year, will see the most aggressive deals this November.
Is a Sub-$500 55" HDTV in Our Future?
Once unattainable for the average consumer, 55" 1080p HDTVs have plummeted in price over the past year. This Black Friday we predict that they will drop to $499. That's an amazing price considering that two Black Fridays ago, the best deal we saw for a 55" HDTV was $798. To date in 2012, we've already seen 55" LCD HDTVs drop as low as $580 (back in January), so $499 isn't too far off.
You might have to pay a premium if you want a 55" 1080p LCD HDTV with built-in 3D, however. Although 55" 3D LCD HDTVs have made some progress in terms of affordability, they're still considered the gas-guzzling SUVs of the TV industry. Last Black Friday this category hit our predicted price of $999. However, that record was broken this summer when we listed the first $949 55" 3D LCD HDTV. That said, our prediction for this year is $789, which is $290 more than our prediction for a 55" LCD HDTV sans 3D technology.
If you're a high roller and have the room (and budget) to go for a 60" HDTV, you should expect to pay about $719 for a 60" 1080p LCD HDTV. However, keep in mind that there are very few third-tier 60" HDTVs sold anymore, so the deals you'll find will be on brand-name sets from the likes of Samsung, LG, and Sharp. If $719 sounds a little too high, you could save money by purchasing a 60" 1080p Plasma HDTV, which we predict will hit $569.
Summary: Black Friday Predictions for HDTVs
- 32" 1080p LCD HDTV for $159
- 42" 1080p LCD HDTV for $189
- 47" 1080p LCD HDTV for $299
- 55" 1080p LCD HDTV for $499
- 55" 1080p 3D LCD HDTV for $789
- 60" 1080p LCD HDTV for $719
- 60" 1080p Plasma HDTV for $569