The best time to buy a TV

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: High-dynamic range (HDR). Whatever the reason, you’re on the hunt for a new TV. But is now the right time to buy? 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 compiled them in this handy guide. Read on to find out when to pounce on a new TV, and save yourself some serious green.

Further reading

Follow the release cycle

LG Signature OLED TV W8

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 gorgeous OLED display, here’s your chance.

Wait for special events

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

Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

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 and expanded to a full 48 hours of great electronics discounts. 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.

Since Amazon’s shipping has been affected by 2020 events, however, the typical mid-July window for Amazon Prime Day isn’t going to work this year. Amazon has yet to pick out a new day, but reports indicate Amazon is going to wait until at least August, so keep an eye out for updates.

Black Friday and 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 — aka, the first Monday after Thanksgiving — 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.

Father’s Day

Nothing screams stereotypical dad quite like a new TV, which is probably why businesses tend to throw out a few deals oriented toward the father figure in your life around or on the third Sunday of June. This is a great time to check out Best Buy, Target, Amazon, and other popular retailers to see if they are discounting any of their screens for potential father-oriented gifts, whether they be big or small.

Back-to-school sales

dorm room appliances bedroom

August isn’t a special event, per se, but something very important happens this time of the year for tech sellers. Midway through the year, a new crop of graduates prepares to go off to college, and that means they’ll be looking to upgrade their dorm rooms and apartments. The latter half of August tends to see a smorgasbord of deals tailored to student life, including TV deals. Manufacturers are more likely to focus discounts on dorm-friendly TVs — meaning you probably won’t find many deals on extra-large models — but for those looking for a smaller TV or a secondary TV for another room, this is a great time to shop.

Tips for finding the best TV for your dollars

Dan Baker/Digital Trends
  • 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 4K TVs under $500 as well if you’re on a budget. Keep in mind these will be priced even lower during sale periods.
  • Understand unique deals: Companies may offer unique discounts on specific models. For example, open-box deals for returned products or products that arrived at the store in the right condition can be a great way to save, especially if you’re flexible about what specific model you want.

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.

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