Panasonic

How to Save on an HDTV

August 7th, 2013 · 5 Comments · 3D HDTV, Connected TVs, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, Plasma, Sound Bars

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The dog days of August are a slow selling period for TV manufacturers and dealers. With summer vacations in full swing, folks getting ready for back to school hassles, and weeks before the NFL season opens, there aren’t too many customers looking to buy a new HDTV.

But if you need one this month, it can be a great time to get a new TV. Here are several methods to save you hundreds of dollars.

Plasma over LED

If you’re in the market for a 50-inch or larger HDTV one thing stores will do is dissuade from buying a plasma. Why? They’re less expensive than similarly-featured LED LCDs, so the store will try to step you up telling you they’re better.

Who says they’re not? We do, along with Consumer Reports and CNET, as their top rated HDTVs are almost always plasmas. Plasmas offer better viewing angles, sharper motion detail, and generally higher contrast (due to deeper blacks). Plasmas also have excellent picture uniformity. LEDs can be brighter. However, for most daytime viewing areas (especially if there are window treatments for light control) plasmas provide a fine image for daytime and is brighter than the large screen CRT or RPTV you may be replacing. Four  of our low cost favorites are the Samsung’s F5300 and 51F5500 series, and the Panasonic 50S60, and ST60 HDTVs. The latter earned our highest rating. For more on plasma vs. LED read our comparison article.

Negotiate

Most major brands, such Samsung, Sony and LG, fall under a one-price unilateral pricing policy (UPP). This means authorized dealers are not supposed to sell below the current “unilateral” price. Even so, posts on consumer forums report many independent dealers, and even a number of Best Buy stores, will give a price break rather than let you walk out the door empty handed.

If all authorized dealers sell at the same price UPP, where do you find a lower price to show them? Check the price from an unauthorized dealer. Keep in mind, though, we don’t recommend buying from an unauthorized dealer due to pitfalls outlined in our article How to get the best HDTV deals. There we list an unauthorized dealer that does have very low prices on UPP branded models (Samsung, Sony, LG etc.) , but not without potential issues.

The best negotiating strategy: go to the store with the make, model, and screen size you want to purchase. Ask for their in-store price, then show them on your smart phone, tablet, or (gasp!) printed out on a piece of paper, the unauthorized dealer’s price. Tell them you are ready to buy today if they will match the price. The salesman will often go to the manager. One of three things will occur: The manager will meet the price, he may reduce the tag price close to the unauthorized dealer price, or he may not budge. If the latter, the store ends up with no revenue and a lost customer.

If you also want to buy a service plan, or intend to buy an accessory with the HDTV such as a stand or soundbar, check the Amazon direct price before hand (Best Buy will always meet their price along with many regional dealers). This may provide added incentive for the dealer to drop the price on the HDTV you desire most.

Go With a Non-UPP HDTV Brand

Panasonic does not have a uniform pricing policy, and permits its dealers to negotiate a deal. They also are making some of the highest rated HDTVs in 2013. For example, its 50-inch Smart top rated plasma model TC-P50ST60 sells for $997.99 from Amazon Direct, including shipping. Use this price as a starting point to negotiate the best deal possible.

The tier 3 brands like Hi-Sense, TCL and Seiki don’t have UPP prices either, so if you’re inclined to go with a brand like that, there may be room to negotiate. Note that generally the price leader models (which the industry calls opening price point, or OPP) have razor thin dealer margins such as a (i.e. Ocosmo 32-inch 720p 60Hz LED LCD TV) for $175, leaving no room for negotiating.

Check out current dealer incentives

Throughout the year, HD Guru scours the Internet looking for models that TV makers provide “dealer incentives” on, in the form of instant rebates that lower the selling price. This week we found models with up to 45% retail. Below are the Amazon direct prices and links. All include free shipping and 14-day price protection.

 

 

LG Electronics 55LA6900 55-Inch Cinema Screen Cinema 3D 1080p LED-LCD HDTV with Smart TV and Four Pairs of 3D GlassesRetail $2000 Now $1199.99-40% off

 

LG Electronics 47LA6900 47-Inch Cinema Screen Cinema 3D 1080p LED-LCD HDTV with Smart TV and Four Pairs of 3D Glasses Retail $1600 Now $839.99-40% off

 

LG Electronics 55LA7400 55-Inch Cinema Screen Cinema 3D 1080p LED-LCD HDTV with Smart TV and Four Pairs of 3D Glasses Retail $2300 Now $1499.00-35% off


Samsung UN40F6300 40-Inch 1080p 120Hz Smart LED HDT Retail $1050 Now $636.40-39% off

 

Samsung UN50F6300 50-Inch 1080p 120Hz Slim Smart LED HDTV Retail $1600 Now  $947.-40% off

 

Samsung UN65F6300 65-Inch 1080p 120Hz Slim Smart LED HDTV Retail $3100 Now $1703.19-45% off

 

Samsung UN60F7100 60-Inch 1080p 240Hz 3D Ultra Slim Smart LED HDTV Retail $3100 Now $1997.99

 

LG Electronics 47GA6400 47-Inch Cinema 3D 1080p 120Hz LED-LCD HDTV with Google TV and Four Pairs of 3D Glasses Retail $1300 Now $731.17-44% off

 

Sony KDL-50R550A 50-Inch 120Hz 1080p LED HDTV (Black) Retail $1400 Now $898.00-36% off

 

Sony KDL-60R550A 60-Inch 120Hz 1080p LED HDTV (Black) Retail $2100 Now $1460.63

 

LG Electronics 50LN5400 50-Inch 1080p LED-LCD HDTV with Smart Share Retail $1100 Now $629.00-43% off

 

LG Electronics 55LN5400 55-Inch 1080p LED-LCD HDTV with Smart Share Retail $1400 Now $798.00-43% off

 

Panasonic TC-P50S60 50-Inch 1080p 600Hz Plasma HDTV Retail $900 Now $669.99

 

One Final Tip

If you pay for your new HDTV with any MasterCard, American Express, or a Visa Signature (only) credit card, you will automatically get double the manufacturer’s warranty through the card company. As most HDTVs come with one year parts and labor, this gives you two years P&L at no extra charge.

 

All of the listed HDTVs are sold by Amazon direct and  offer a 14 day low price guarantee, 2% Back in Rewards (on TVs $999 or higher) and 30 Day returns with free return freight on TVs. They stand behind their sales. Note: prices are correct as of posting and may change at any time, please verify with our links; Currently, most states do not collect sales tax on Amazon orders with the exceptions of  AZ, CA, TX,  KS, KY, NJ, NY, ND, PA & WA. You always must pay sales tax (in states that collect it) when buying at a brick and mortar store. Should you buy an HDTV from on-line or from a retail store?  For the answers read our article here.

 

 

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5 Comments so far ↓

  • Gary Ham

    You really are doing a disservice to the authorized dealers that sell UPP products when you say to have dealers match non authorized outlets. You’ve written about places like Abe’s of Main and East Coast TV’s and even say you don’t recommend buying from them.

    Why should an authorized dealer match an unauthorized dealer’s price when its not a real price to begin with and offers no after sale service/advice as well? As you said yourself, unless you purchase overpriced accessories etc, buyers won’t get the set….well, maybe a refurbished one or open box.

    I’m sure Amazon.com which you promote heavily would be happy with your comments.

    Please respond in your column to this.

    Thank you.

    I’m sure Amazon.Com which you promote heavily loves this/

  • Brian

    @Dillon. FWIW, I have two other Panasonic plasmas that I bought in 09 and 10 and both work fine and have never had a problem. I’ve owned several Panasonics over the years and I’ve never needed a single repair on any of them.

  • Dillon

    So the S60 has great reviews, but will it last as long as the Samsung models? Is the build quality comparable?

    Do the Samsung F5300 and 51F5500 use the same plasma display, one just has more features or is the 51F5500 actually a better display?

    You’ve actually talked me into a plasma, now it is a matter of which one!

  • Frank

    ” For example, its 50-inch Smart top rated plasma model TC-P50ST60 sells for $997.99 from Amazon Direct, including shipping. Use this price as a starting point to negotiate the best deal possible.”

    This is just about the same price that places such as Sears, Best Buy and Abt Electronics are listing for that same model, so what would be the point in using it as a baseline for negotiations?

    The 50ST60 is very popular (being top rated does not hurt) and is currently back ordered by 2-3 weeks on Amazon too. The laws of supply and demand still apply especially at Amazon, where the price tend to drop when the supply is high and rise when it is low.

    HD Guru

  • Brian

    I just splurged on the 50″ S60. I use a couple browser extensions to compare prices (Invisible Hand and the Camelizer). Not sure if people realize how often Amazon changes their prices on pretty much everything. I would sign on to check out this TV and the prices would fluctuate daily. Sometimes several times per day. Also, while the extensions I referenced are helpful, they’re not perfect. There was literally a 4 hour window last week where Amazon’s price for this TV went down to $649.99. Because I’m off from work for the summer, I’m able to sign on a million times per day so I saw it, but the Camelizer never notified me. In fact, in their price chart, they still say the lowest price ever for this set was $679.99. Amazon also set up a 3 hour window for delivery at the time of checkout which is great. I went to Best Buy recently and it’s really hard to compare TVs because they have the LEDs’ brightness so damn hot that it makes the Plasmas look dingy by comparison. I kept having to tell my wife, “Trust me, plasmas are better.”

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