Anyone who’s done a bit of shopping in the last week or so was probably confronted with the reality that the holiday season, like it or not, is once again being thrust upon us. It’s not even Halloween yet and Christmas decorations are already dominated retail stores across the country. Can’t we have some Halloween candy before we have to start thinking about holiday gift buying?
No, unfortunately, we can’t – not if we want to get the best stuff at the best price, anyway. A recent report issued by the Wall Street Journal — which took up to six years worth of holiday pricing data into account — indicates that prices on many hot-ticket items, including TVs, actually rise the closer we get to Christmas. In fact that same report shows us that the best holiday-season time to buy a TV is – dig this – right now, in October.
With that in mind, we urge you to start getting serious about some decision-making if you’ve been planning to put a TV under the tree this year. To help you along, we’ve assembled a short-list of top-performing TVs that we found at great prices from online retailers. Happy Holidays, already.
Please note: Due to the highly dynamic nature of online retailing, pricing and availability of the models listed below is likely to change. When possible, we will update our list to reflect those changes, but it is always best to check retailers on a day-to-day basis.
If Panasonic’s ST50 series isn’t on your short-list already, then you need to do some more research. This is, by far, one of the best performing, high-value TVs on the market this year. When it comes to picture quality, this is the model to beat. You can pay more, but you will get less. You can read our review for more juicy details, or you can take us at our word and head to Amazon to pick up the 50-inch for $1050 or the 55-inch for $1250 right now.
This Plasma series from Samsung runs a very close second to Panasonic’s ST50 series in terms of both picture quality and price. One notable Samsung advantage, however, is its Smart Hub Internet apps interface, which stands as one of our favorites for accessing online video content. Check our our Samsung PN60E6500 Review.
Panasonic UT50 series 3D Plasma TV
Another Panasonic? Yes. While the UT50 series doesn’t offer a picture quite as refined as its more expensive ST-50 series cousins, it wins the bang-for-your-buck award hands down. Right now, we’re seeing the 50-incher going for as little as $830 and the 60-inch model for around $1300.
LG LM7600 series 3D LED/LCD TV
The LG LM6700 series was what we originally had in mind for this pick, but the model is getting harder and harder to find. Plus, since the year is winding down, so are the prices for the step-up LM6700 series. That makes the LM7600 a shoe-in with its stunning design, dazzlingly bright picture, and six pair of 3D glasses included free. LG’s Magic Motion remote is a lot of fun, too. $1470 gets you the 55-inch model at Amazon right now.
Need a TV for the bedroom, kids’ room, or bonus room? We think this 32-incher is the ticket. It packs plenty of Internet apps and built-in Wi-Fi. For around $300 at most retailers, this is a hard one to pass up. Need to go razor thin? Check out the Vizio M320SL for $100 more.
That a 60-inch LED TV loaded with Internet apps and built-in Wi-Fi can be had for under $1000 seems almost too good to be true, but we’re here to tell you this TV from Vizio is no joke — just be sure to turn off the motion smoothing feature as soon as you get it plugged in. The picture quality isn’t as solid as our next Vizio entry, but if you’re looking to gain inches without shedding dollars, this model will do it. It’s in stock at Costco and Amazon.
Yeah… Vizio got all serious with its holiday pricing this year. As a result, it gets three mentions on our list. This year, the manufacturer outdoes itself with a solid-performing 65-inch, ultra-thin, LED TV available for $1500 at Costco and Amazon. If you must have 3D, dig down deep in your pockets for another $300 and grab yourself the 3D-capable M3D650SV.
Sony’s HX850 series costs more dollars per inch than any other TV on our list, but it earns a place here because it is the best-performing LED television we’ve seen this year and the price has been cut down significantly. The 55-inch version is going for $2000 at a number of popular retailers. Better get on this one while the getting’s good.