So your trusty old plasma is starting to give up the ghost, or maybe you’re just getting tired of your HD TV and you’re ready to make the jump to a 4K Ultra HD display with that secret sauce you keep hearing about, HDR (high dynamic range). Whatever the reason, you’re on the hunt for a new TV. But is now the right moment? Moreover, is there a specific time of year to find the best deals?
If you believe the hype and marketing tactics from TV manufacturers and retailers, you’d think it’s always a great time to buy a TV. This, of course, can’t be true. That said, there are multiple periods throughout the year in which you’ll almost certainly find the best deals, and we’ve lined them all out in this handy guide. So read on to find out when to pounce on a new TV and save yourself some serious green.
Follow the release cycle
One great option to find the best TV deals is to simply follow the release schedule. New TVs tend to come out between February and April, and while that’s a great time to get the latest in TV tech, it’s also when manufacturers slash prices on last year’s models to make way for the new ones. This may give you the feeling that you’re not buying the latest and greatest, but keep in mind that these TVs were top of the line just a few short months earlier.
Basically, we suggest keeping an eye out for sales starting around March. While not all manufacturers follow the same exact release cycle, most manufacturers do unveil their new TV lineups at CES in early January, with release dates often announced in the weeks that follow. If you know a new lineup is coming from a brand you’re interested in, start keeping an eye out for news detailing when the new models will arrive in stores. As soon as those hit (or even right before), you can expect big discounts on last year’s models.
Conversely, if you’re looking for the latest and greatest, this is still an excellent time of the year to buy a TV. If you want to be the first on your block to show off the latest features or that ultra-thin OLED display, here’s your chance.
Following the release cycle is just one way to find a great deal on your next TV. There are a few other periods throughout the year when you’ll see plenty of big brands offering multiple TV models at great prices. And if you’re a sports fan, at least one of them coincides with a time you might find yourself seriously considering an upgrade.
Super Bowl Sales
The Super Bowl isn’t just an excuse to stock up on chips, dip, and those little hot dogs you’ll still be stuck eating for weeks after the game. Manufacturers and retailers often mark down their current line of TVs in January for the NFL’s clash of the conferences, often keeping them priced low until just days before the festivities commence. Since screen size always factors in heavily to a good Super Bowl party, the most common sales you’ll see this time of year will be on models from around 49 inches and up. In other words, it’s a good time to go big.
Amazon Prime Day
Amazon’s attempt at creating a Black Friday of its own might have been a bit of a bomb the first year, but since then it has produced its fair share of solid TV deals. Compared to other events, Prime Day isn’t absolutely loaded with TVs, and they’re usually cheaper models, but there’s still plenty to survey. Take a look at 2018’s Prime Day TV deals for an idea of what you might expect to find in the future.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday
Sure, you saw this coming, but you don’t have to risk serious injury at the mall or your local electronics store to land a major bargain during Black Friday sales. While you’ll typically find the best deals on the big day after Thanksgiving, sales will often begin creeping up in early November. And if you miss your chance on Friday, Cyber Monday (the first Monday after Thanksgiving each year) has been getting better and better over the past few years when it comes to TV sales, too.
Unlike the Super Bowl sales, you’ll find all manner of sizes and types of TVs on sale during this period — big to small, high-end to budget brands — and some go for as little as half their original price. That said, most of the best deals will be mid- to lower-priced TVs, so this is a great time to buy that bedroom TV you’ve been eyeing on the cheap. The sheer amount of models on sale can be daunting to dig through, so keep an eye on tech sites (like this one) that curate the best deals. On that note, be sure to follow to the next section for some tips on what to look for in your bargain crusade.
Tips for finding the best TV for your dollars
- Check multiple outlets: This applies both online and in-store. It’s easy to simply rely on Amazon, but we recommend shopping around both online and in person.
- Social media is your friend: While you may be wary about following stores on Facebook or Twitter, retailers will often notify their followers of deals ahead of the general public, and you can use this to your advantage. After all, you can always unfollow them later.
- Know the market: Clicking the “Buy” button on the first good deal you find might cause trouble if you only find out your TV doesn’t support features you want, like HDR or an intuitive user interface, until after you get it home. Check our TV buying guide and our list of the best TVs you can buy for a better idea of what to look for. We have lists of the best TVs under $1,000 and the best TVs under $500 as well if you’re on a budget. Keep in mind these will be priced even lower during sale periods.
A little patience goes a long way
We get it — you want to set up your new TV today, not in a few months. And if you don’t mind paying a little more, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But just like any major purchase, it pays to be patient when picking out a new TV. Waiting for just the right moment can save you big money, and you’ll also get that special satisfaction of knowing you’re a sharp shopper. Then you can either tuck the savings away, or use the money to pick up a new A/V receiver or soundbar to upgrade your entire home theater. You can thank us later.