You’re ready to pop some corn, grab a drink and watch a movie when you notice that your television could use an upgrade. But is now the best time to buy a TV?
As with most electronics, TVs have sweet spots during the year when you’ll find the best deals. Whether it’s because new TV models have just arrived or there is a national holiday promoting sales, we’ll help you find the best time to buy a new TV.
We’ll also guide you through a few tricks to save money when shopping and point out what features to look for on your next television.
What’s the Best Time to Buy a TV?
Why do some times of year offer better deals than others?
Well, manufacturers traditionally lower the price of TVs when new models hit the market. Retailers also promote products on shopping holidays, like Cyber Monday, Black Friday or Labor Day.
That makes January when new models are unveiled and November when two big shopping holidays fall the best time for TV deals.
Here are a few times of the year when you should consider buying a television from your favorite electronics store or retailer.
January — Super Bowl and Consumer Electronics Show
There is no bigger televised sporting event in the country than the Super Bowl — and retailers know you’re going to want to see all the action in the best detail possible. Cue the TV deals.
With the Super Bowl airing annually in February, stores start offering deals in January. Keep an eye on popular electronics retailers before the big game to snag a good deal.
Another reason for excellent TV sales around this time is the annual Consumer Electronics Show at the beginning of January in Las Vegas. TV manufacturers show off the latest and greatest new TVs at the expo, putting many older models on sale shortly after.
You can watch the NFL season live with these alternatives to traditional cable.
November and July — Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day
There are regular holidays, and then there are shopping holidays. You know what we are talking about: the big trifecta — Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Prime Day. Retailers and manufacturers spend the rest of the year gearing up for the deals they drop these days.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have always offered substantial savings to customers. Black Friday, in particular, tends to offer the best TV deals of the year. The only downside is finding the will to shop after eating too much turkey and stuffing. On the upside, you could just wait and shop from home on Cyber Monday.
These two major shopping days during the holiday season make November one of the best months to buy new TVs.
Amazon’s self-made shopping holiday, Prime Day, offers a plethora of deals in July — and TVs are no exception. The best part is that, like Cyber Monday, you don’t even need to leave the house.
Year-Round — National Holidays
Many retailers also pull out a few stops and offer great deals on electronics during holiday weekends. While you generally don’t see the same big TV discounts as Black Friday sales, these holidays can save you a few pennies.
Watching and waiting is the best way to plan for a holiday sale. If you find a TV you want to purchase, keep checking back with major retailers leading up to each holiday. You may discover surprising savings.
Some sales holidays you can take advantage of include:
New Year’s Day
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
St. Patrick’s Day
Fourth of July
You can save even more money on home entertainment with these free or cheap options.
3 Tips to Save on a New TV
When it comes to television shopping, there are a few ways to find savings on most TV deals. Your dream television may be cheaper than you may think.
1. Don’t Buy the Latest Tech
We know it can be tempting to buy the newest TV, but there’s a hidden cost. Generally speaking, the first generations of technology are not yet refined and wildly overpriced.
You’ll save a lot of money by purchasing mid-market options, rather than a model at the top of the television food chain with the latest features.
When the first HD television launched it came with a price tag of close to $8,000. However, it didn’t take long for that price to drop. You’re likely wasting your money on a substandard product.
2. Consider a Refurbished or Open Box TV
Refurbished electronics can offer incredible savings to consumers. Purchasing a refurbished TV may seem like a shaky proposition, but if you select a reliable retailer that offers at least a one-year warranty, you shouldn’t have any issues.
Open box TVs are another way to save money on a new TV. When a customer returns a product in like-new condition, the store can’t sell it as new. As a result, retailers offer “open box” products at big discounts. Just be sure that the original warranty is included.
3. Be Patient
Patience can sometimes be the key to the best savings. Ask yourself if you need that new TV now or if you can wait until a sale pops up. Remember, retailers want you to buy, so sales are common throughout the year.
You can even use a website, such as camelcamelcamel, to help you track the price of a product over time. These tools will give you a better idea if now is the best time to make your purchase. If the price is abnormally high or sales happen often, it may be best to wait.
How to Find the Perfect TV for You
When you purchase a TV, what features should you seek? The latest technology can cost more than it’s worth, so spending more usually doesn’t equate to the most excellent value.
Here are the features to keep in mind when shopping for a new TV.
Screen Size: Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to televisions. Be sure to measure the space for your TV to see if it fits. In many cases, going down a size in the same price bracket yields a better overall experience. You trade a few inches for better color reproduction and resolution.
Resolution: If you’re buying a new TV right now, you’ll likely want a model with 4K capabilities. While most networks continue to broadcast in 1080p HD, paid and free online streaming services have taken advantage of 4K technology. Wait on 8K televisions, though, as there isn’t much content available to watch.
Refresh Rate: You may see the term “refresh rate” thrown about, but don’t pay too much attention to it. The only time the refresh rate becomes essential is when you have a gamer in the house. Some modern gaming consoles support up to 120 Hz gameplay, allowing a smoother visual experience if you have a TV to match.
Color: Here is an important factor that doesn’t get as much attention as it should — color. If you want the best picture quality, purchase a LED-backlit model for more vibrant colors. We recommend a TV with high-dynamic range (HDR) support that boosts your picture quality significantly.
Connectivity: We aren’t huge fans of smart TVs. You can typically obtain a better streaming experience using an external media box. Skip worrying if your TV is smart, and purchase a separate device — like Roku, Amazon Fire Stick or Apple TV — after the fact.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The best month to buy a TV is November, thanks to excellent TV deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can also find great TV deals in January before the Super Bowl and during sales around national holidays.
If you want a new TV, the best strategy is watchful patience. Watch for TV deals during holidays when retailers tend to offer the biggest sales and be patient as prices fluctuate. Otherwise, you can get discounted TVs by shopping for refurbished and open box models that include a full warranty.
TVs go on sale all the time. If the TV you are eyeing isn’t on sale now, it will likely be shortly — and an even better sale may be around the corner. Retailers tend to hold sales around major holidays, like Thanksgiving, allowing you to grab significant savings.
Michael Archambault is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder specializing in technology.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.