It seems over the last couple of years TVs have been one of the big Black Friday favorites; and no wonder, as they continue to be one of the best things that retailers use to attract shoppers’ attention. The problem we have seen in past years is that the numbers of these Black Friday deal sets are limited and, depending on when you arrive, you may or may not be lucky enough to grab one. This year, according to some retail folks we have talked with, the numbers of in-stock sets for the Black Friday sale seem higher this year (according to these sources), but we will have to wait and see how this pans out.
32-inch sets are a good size for a smaller viewing area or for a video game system. This year, the deal is at Sears with the Seiki 32” 720p LC HDTV. While it only has 2 HDMI inputs and a refresh rate of 60Hz, the $199 price tag and the fact that Sears is opening at 4 A.M. make this one attractive, as you can attempt to grab it and still have time to get in line someplace else. The 32-inch Emerson for $188 at Walmart and the RCA 32” for $279.99 with built-in DVD player are both other options; the Emerson only has one HDMI input, and while the RCA does have 4 HDMI inputs and a built-in DVD player we have to think we can buy a 40-inch set and a cheap DVD player for about the same money.
This year in the 40-inch to 46-inch category, Best Buy has no real competitors. We think that the overall best and number one deal this year for an HDTV (for the money) is the 42-inch Sharp LC-42SV49U 1080p LCD TV with 4 HDMI inputs, as well as composite and S-Video inputs for $199. This one will be the most sought after deal this Black Friday, or the golden ring, if you will. We also like the Panasonic 720P Viera TC-P46X3 46-inch Plasma for $399.99 with built-in Netflix and Amazon streaming. Plasma looks good and for the money it is an excellent choice.
If you want a big set this year, 50-inch seems to be where the best deals stop. The winner in our opinion is the Panasonic 50-inch TC-P5032C, which is a 50-inch 720P Plasma with 2 HDMI inputs, one composite, and one component input. While it is a 720P set, as long as you don’t have a bright room, with the latest Panasonic plasma technology this set is stunning and worth a look at Kmart. If you have to have 1080p, then the Zenith 50-inch Z50PV220 is the next best option. While the set is actually an LG set, this model is a bit stripped down to make the $499 price point at Sears. You will not find an SD card slot or composite jacks, but you do get three HDMI jacks and two component jacks. While both sets are plasma, we just didn’t see any great deals on LCD or LED sets at this size.
While the curiosity over 3D HDTV continues for some, we thought it would only be right to give you the information for the best of the deals on the 3D sets for Black Friday. Two things you need to consider if you are looking at a 3D set: where are you going to get the programming; and how many pairs of 3D glasses you need. Not every provider is offering 3D programming, and if they don’t. you will be stuck watching whatever content you can play with your 3D Blu-ray player. (Yes, you need a 3D compatible Blu-ray player.) 3D Glasses are expensive and can range from as much as $129 to as little as $70 per pair. We have seen compatible 3D glasses that work with some sets, but the jury seems to be out on how good these compatible glasses really are.
Our pick in the 3D TV competitors for Black Friday is the LG LD 3D TV from Walmart. At $799.98, this 47-inch set is part of LG’s Cinema Smart series. It is a little more than the 42-inch Vizio LED 3D TV at $598 that is also at Wal-Mart, and this would be our runner up. We like the LG because it simply has more features and it is bigger; and for the money it is close to a 50-inch set as you are going to get with 3D for this money. Over the long haul, we think the extra money for the LG will be worth it, but of course, you have to add a 3D Blu-ray player and glasses; but you could opt to maybe add those later.