Black Friday 2018 is almost here.
And while it may not be as big an event as it was 10 years ago, millions of shoppers will still head out Thanksgiving night, many of them looking for the best deals of the year on new TVs.
But is it really worth lining up on Thanksgiving afternoon for a big screen 4K TV? Or are you wasting your time?
Consumer Reports Magazine says yes, you can get a great deal. But it has some cautions. You are not going to find a $1,500 TV for $300. Retailers don’t take losses on expensive TVs, just because it is Black Friday.
What you are really getting
Consumer Reports says when it comes to the most advertised 4K TVs many of the “best deals” are on special Black Friday models. It is almost impossible to look them up for reviews in advance, because you will not find those model numbers anywhere else.
It says you are often getting models with 2-year-old technology, or stripped down models, with fewer HDMI ports, tinnier speakers and a simpler menu and interface, which is how they can mark the price so low.
For instance, Target’s hottest door buster will be a 65-inch Samsung 4K TV for just $799, $300 off list. No doubt shoppers will line up for that one.
However, the magazine says you can currently find it for around $900 at other retailers, as it is not a top of the line set. A good deal? Yes. But an incredible markdown? Not exactly.
Target is also advertising a 55-inch LG 4K TV for $470. Consumer Reports says this model usually sells for $600, so it is a good deal on Black Friday. But again, it is not a top-of-the-line model at that price point.
The sweet spot when it comes to prices this year is the 55-inch 4K TVs. Look for name brands as low as $400.
But be cautious when looking at 50- and 55-inch TVs in the $250-$350 range. Many are from second-tier brands like Element, TCL, RCA and Westinghouse.
They will work, but may not give you the picture quality and performance of a Samsung, Sony or LG. Know what you are getting, so you are not disappointed.
You’ll need to arrive early
Unfortunately, the best TV deals will require you miss the pumpkin pie, and maybe the turkey, too.
Doors open at the major stores at 5 p.m. Thursday. JCPenney starts its sales at 2 p.m.
To get those front-page TV doorbuster deals, you’ll want to show up by mid-afternoon. Most of the top TV doorbusters are not available online (the store would lose money shipping them).
Show up at 6 or 7 p.m., and you may say, “doesn’t that stink” when the best Black Friday TVs are all gone.
So what can you do if you don’t want to deal with the Black Friday craziness? The second best time of year to buy a big TV, according to Consumer Reports, is Super Bowl season in late January.
Shop in January and you will miss the crowds, and you don’t waste your money.
Follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese)