If you’re thinking of buying a new TV, you might want to wait for this year’s Black Friday TV deals. That’s when retailers drop TV deals to the lowest price of the year. A longtime staple of Black Friday deals, TV sales haven’t gone away, even as retailers have extended sales to nearly every other type of consumer tech product. This year TV deals are expected to be better than ever.
As retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart gear up for Black Friday 2019, we’re keeping a close eye on upcoming sales to help you find the best Black Friday TV deals of the season.
Where Black Friday used to mean steep discounts on TVs (but usually on brands you’ve never heard of), the new approach relies more on brand recognition, giving you a chance to score some awesome bargains on some of the best smart TVs and 4K sets.
There will still be some off-brand models on sale, but if you keep your eyes open, there should be some great deals on TVs from Samsung, Sony, TCL, and Vizio, and you may even be able to score an LG OLED TV for $999 or less. (Already we’ve seen 55-inch LG OLEDs hit that price point).
And remember, Black Friday deals are as popular online as they are in-store. That means you’ll be able to score some excellent Black Friday deals without having to brave the winter weather. You may not even have to wait until Thanksgiving, as many retailers start offering sales as early as November 1st.
Black Friday TV deals to watch out for
Black Friday deals are designed to generate excitement and sales, so don’t get lost in the hype. The basics of buying a great TV on sale are the same as regular-priced models: Know what features you should expect, what extras you may want, and read up on reviews to get a feel for what’s good or bad about specific models.
Our favorite brands are probably the names you already recognize: LG, Samsung, and Sony offer the top premium models, while Hisense, TCL, and Vizio deliver excellent quality at more affordable prices. Last year’s sales saw price cuts of $500 or more on some top models, and we expect similar sales this year. Look for Black Friday Target deals since the retailer tends to discount brands like Vizio and TCL.
We’ve seen some great TVs this year, and all of them can expect some sort of price drop for Black Friday.
The LG C9 OLED and the entry-level LG B9 OLED offer fantastic value at normal prices, thanks to LG’s superb OLED displays and robust smart features. Last year’s model saw price drops of $300 or more, so these are definitely worth watching out for.
While Sony’s prices tend to run a little higher than we’d like, there’s no doubt that Sony TVs are among the best on the market, making Black Friday the perfect time to score some of the best TVs at more reasonable prices. LCD TVs, like the Sony X950G 75-inch Android TV, will often be found for $200 to $300 off their regular price, especially at the larger sizes.
And Sony’s Master Series OLED TVs, like last year’s A9F OLED and this year’s A9G OLED, don’t often see price drops, but Black Friday tends to be the exception. Last year’s A9F OLED, for example, dropped below $4,200 one of the few times it sold for under the $4,500 MSRP.
And you can expect to see more QLED sets from more companies this winter. While Samsung might be the best-known seller of quantum-dot enhanced TVs, other manufacturers are getting in on the action, and QLED sets from Vizio, TCL, and Hisense put this premium technology into some pretty attractive and affordable packages.
Our favorite QLED sets include the Samsung Q90 QLED TV, which is Samsung’s best 4K TV so far, but also the Vizio M-Series Quantum, which has the same QLED technology without the higher price.
Finding the best Black Friday TV sales
In general, we recommend buying a TV with 4K resolution, since it’s the current standard, and will serve you well for old and new content alike. Stick to smart TVs, since nearly all current TVs include smart features giving you everything from free content to cable-free premium content, and compatibility with a whole house full of smart gadgets.
It’s also a good time to bone up on some of the basics of current TV technology. The difference between OLED and QLED, for example, can not only deliver different picture quality, but it can also mean a price difference of hundreds of dollars. And features like high-dynamic-range (HDR) support and HDMI 2.1 connectivity are premium touches that are worth paying a little extra for. The best Black Friday TV deals won’t just have low prices, but great overall value.
And watch for sales on bundle deals. The holidays are a great time to score a TV that comes with extras like HDMI cables, wall mounts or even soundbars, often for less than the regular price of the TV alone.
Black Friday Cheap TVs: Bargain hunters beware
Watch the fine print on those deals, though. You may see some TVs selling for $100 or less, but they all have some pretty severe limitations. Small sizes are common, and 32-inches is pretty small compared to the 65-inch models we usually review. (Check out our guide to choosing the right TV size to find the best size for your home.)
Most are lacking smart features or rely on off-brand software with limited app selection. But the biggest gotcha you’ll see on Black Friday is a low resolution some don’t even offer full HD, opting for 720p resolution. While you may see TVs listed for amazingly low prices some for less than $100 don’t expect any of the smart functions or 4K panels we see in the best TVs.
Retailers also see the big sale as an opportunity to clear out slow-moving stock, and that includes sets we usually recommend against buying, like curved TVs. While the curved screen is an eye-catching feature, it’s not a good choice for anyone that wants to watch a show with someone else.
The curved screen warps the display in a way that produces terrible viewing angles, not only distorting colors for those viewing from an angle but sometimes making entire portions of the screen unviewable.
The one exception to this rule is if you want a dedicated 4K TV for gaming: For single-player gaming, a curved display can offer better immersion than a flat panel. But for most users, curved screens are something to avoid, even at a discount.
The other thing to watch for is refurbished and open box units. These can be a source of enormous savings, but they come with wear and tear before you ever set it up, and warranty coverage may not be as robust as a new model will offer. Refurbs are a good way to save a buck during the rest of the year, but as we get into the holidays, the best deals are on new units.
Just remember the old saying about things that look too good to be true. Not all Black Friday cheap TVs are great deals, even when the prices are enticing.