In 1970, my parents purchased a brand-new RCA Console TV with a record player (that’s an old music device, kids). The cost was $500, which is equivalent to $3300 in today’s economy. They saved their pennies and had no plans to “trade up” in a few years. That TV was an investment, one that served them well for the next two decades. Imagine that for a moment.
You can still buy a TV today for $500, but that’s not nearly the sacrifice it was fifty years ago. Folks aren’t looking at a long-term solution for the 5 ½ hours of TV and video they watch every day. They just want the best picture and the most updated model. When new tech comes out, they run to Best Buy. Is that the right move? Maybe not. Let’s talk about the best time to buy a TV.
The Best Months To Buy A New TV
This will come as no surprise. The best month to buy a new TV is November, particularly on Black Friday. The rest of the holiday season isn’t bad, either. Good deals can be found in December. Better bargains materialize in January. You’ll get the best prices during these months, but there’s a lot more to think about.
Here are a few tips:
- Don’t buy anything under 4K
- Don’t buy 8K just yet
- Make sure it’s HDR Compatible
- Make sure it has at least four HDMI ports
Expect to pay between $500 and $900 for a 55” 4K HDTV. You’ll see 8K models on the floor listing at over $2000. Don’t waste your money. Japan is the only place you can actually find 8K content right now. Those 8K TVs will sell for under a thousand dollars when the content catches up to the delivery technology. Most experts say that could be several years away.
HDR stands for “high dynamic range.” It’s essentially a step up from Ultra HD. Standard LCD TVs currently show a range of colors limited by a standard resolution rate called Rec 709. That standard was established in 1990 and is about to change to allow for a broader spectrum of colors known as HDR. You’ll want to own a TV that’s ready for that transition.
HDMI ports are the mechanism by which uncompressed, high-speed digital audio and video are fed from one device to another. You’ll need at least one HDMI port for your cable or satellite box. If you run a gaming system, you’ll need another. Connect a mobile, laptop, or tablet to stream video? Add one more. You can see why you need at least four on your new TV.
When And Where To Find The Best Deals On A TV
What happens if your old TV stops working in March? Do you have to wait until November to get a new one for a decent price? I think not. Perhaps you forgot. Americans watch 5 ½ hours of TV every day. No one is going six months without it. You’ll have to start shopping right away and hunt for a good deal. Have no fear. Lower prices can be found year-round.
Start with Amazon. They typically have the lowest prices and you can have a new Smart TV delivered in a day or two. Don’t be too hasty though. Before you hit the “Buy with One Click” button, check with Best Buy. They have a price matching policy in place, and you could get the same model in stock today. Walmart offers a similar program.
Don’t be afraid to buy something slightly older. Electronics are always more expensive when they first come out. If you’re in a bind, you can get something decent for under $500. Walmart has a 49” Toshiba LED HDTV on clearance right now for $250.99. It’s even cheaper on eBay. That’s not top of the line, but it will do the job if you’re stuck and going into withdrawals.
The Worst Months To Buy A TV
June and July are the worst months to buy a TV. New models come out in January. The early months of the year are a good time to find deals on previous year models. By the end of Spring, the shelves are clear and only new TVs are left. You can buy one of those, but you’ll pay more and, as we’ve stated above, the new model might not be ready for prime time.
September is okay because it’s back to school season and electronics retailers will usually run decent sales. You’re better off waiting until Black Friday at that point, though. Prices on newer and older TV’s will both be lower. Keep in mind, new models will come out in January again, so it’s actually previous year models that are clearing out on Black Friday.
The best and worst months of the year to buy a TV in a retail electronics store become irrelevant when you shop online. Amazon runs sales all the time. Older models can be found on eBay for far less than what you’ll pay at a brick and mortar location. You can also buy used and refurbished TVs at Wish and Mercari. These are just a few of the options available.
What Type Of TV Should You Buy?
HDR-compatible TVs are ripe to buy right now. 8K TV’s aren’t quite in season yet. As for size, go as large as you like. Just make sure you measure the TV room before you go shopping. The showroom at the store is much larger than any room in your house. That 85” flat screen looks great there, but you’ll have to move out the couch to fit it in your place.
For best picture, try to find an OLED/LCD TV that’s both UHD and 4K. OLED’s don’t employ backlights, so black images come through without the lighter tints you see in older TVs. QLED TVs don’t give you that same picture quality. Consumer Reports has given OLED TVs from LG and Sony the highest ratings in recent years. Samsung also produces OLED TVs.
Don’t get locked into just the well-known electronics brands. There are newer manufacturers coming out with quality electronics and many of them are expected to make a splash this year. Walmart’s new Onn TV has been getting good reviews. Konka and OnePlus, both Chinese companies, are also expected to break into the US market in 2020.
Final Thoughts: Best Time To Buy A TV
Now you know the best time to buy a TV, where to buy one, and what type of TV you should get. Use this guide and get the best value for your money!