Use These Tips For Black Friday HDTV Sales and Pay Less

November 13th, 2011 · 6 Comments · 3D HDTV, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News

Ready to buy a new HDTV? Don’t! Well, at least not before reading these tips for Black Friday shoppers.

Are the TVs on sale really good deals? What about buying a no-name brand? Can you get the best TV from a doorbuster sale?

By planning your buying strategy you can spare yourself time, money and grief.

Why Leave the House?

Many of the lowest priced Black Friday TVs are no-name brands we don’t recommend. If you’re looking for a name-brand TV on Black Friday sale, we found Amazon Direct to be the same or only slightly higher priced. This is because they closely track major retailers’ pricing.

Keep in mind all brick and mortar stores collect sales tax, while most states don’t with Amazon sales. This may make up for any price difference. We urge readers to check Amazon pricing before heading out to the stores on Thanksgiving or anytime after.

No-Name Brand Service Issues
In our no-name brands article we examined no-name HDTVs. These sets tend to be made in China, and are sold by marketing companies. These companies often have limited or no national service and parts networks.

Often, TV owners need to ship a defective set back to the company’s US offices to receive a repair or exchange. The price difference between a no-name brand and a name brand can be $50 or less, and we recommend buying the name brand product if you can afford it.


Black Friday Deals Week Store

Blu-ray Movies BF Week Sale From $4.99

HDTVs On Sale

Today’s Best Selling HDTVs

Today’s Best Selling Blu-ray Players


What are the Store ‘s Return Polices?

Return policies vary in length of the return window and possibility of restocking charges. Our store return policy article lists the normal return windows for Best Buy, Target, Costco, BJs, Walmart and Sam’s Club. In past years, a number of retailers extended returns to after Christmas. The new policies will probably be announced just before black Friday.

Beware: Sears 30-Day return policy states a whopping 15% restocking charge on all home electronics including televisions if the product was used. A salesman told us Sears defines “used” once the box has been opened.

Many online TV sellers don’t accept HDTV returns, and the ones that do often have restocking charges. Amazon Direct offers 30-day returns with no restocking fee on HDTVs and even pays the return freight. Check out store return polices before buying, not after.

Don’t Buy the Accessories With The TV

All HDTVs require HDMI cables for HD connections to Blu-ray players, most cable/satellite boxes, and media receivers like the Roku (our review here). HDMI cables provide digital audio and video signals over a single cable from source to display. There is no need to buy expensive HDMI cables, as we found in our recent test.

HDTV buyers should also use a surge protector to protect their TV and components against power surges from electrical storms. Even though most TVs today come with a microfiber screen-safe cleaning cloth, retailers push overpriced TV cleaning kits. Check out our review of a few of these.

Best Buy is offering a bundle with all three of these items in its upcoming Black Friday circular for $149.99 (photo above), and makes it appear a good deal by stating a “minimum 5 per store.” Don’t believe it. This package is very profitable for BB and is not a good value. The regular prices for this 8-foot Monster HDMI Cable, surge suppressor and screen cleaning kit are sold separately for $99.99, $49.99 and $19.99 respectively.

You can buy a OSD 9 foot Hi-Speed HDMI Cable for $4.19 instead, a Belkin 8-Outlet Home/Office Surge Protector with Phone/Coaxial Protection and Extended Cordfor $17.30 and a CleanDr LCD/Plasma Screen Cleaner for $6.69

This comparable bundle costs only $28.18, that’s a savings of 81%! These accessories all come from Amazon direct and include free shipping.

The above bundle is “On Sale” for $99.99 from Best Buy. It has a 7 outlet surge. You can substitute a comparable Belkin 8-Outlet Surge Protector from Amazon for $16.77 making the package total $27.65, a 72% savings over Best Buy’s bundle.

The last surge protector bundle is a very basic model. Belkin’s unit fits on the wall outlet Belkin 6-Outlet Wall-Mount Surge Protectorfor $8.44. This package with the same 9 ft HDMI cable and screen cleaner kit from Amazon costs $19.32- a 61% savings!

If your system has a DVR or other hard drive device we recommend a combination surge protector/uninterruptable power supply (UPS). The Tripp Lite OMNI900LCD Digital LCD 900VA Line-Interactive UPS (8 Outlets) regulates voltage during a brown out as well as providing battery backup for short power outages, saving hard drives from crashes. It sells for $99.99 on Amazon with free shipping.


Extended Warranties

If you plan to buy a no-name TV, we recommend an extended warranty if you plan to keep the TV for at least 3 or 4 years. Often the Square Trade warranty is much cheaper than the one offered by Best Buy and other brick and mortar stores. So compare prices before leaving the house and save money. Here is a link to a Square Trade 4 year warranty SquareTrade 4-Year TV Warranty ($500-600 LCD, Plasma, LED). Our article covering extended warranties will fill you in on how to save by buying a third party contract.

What To Watch in HD?

If you use cable or satellite you will need a high definition box to see a HD picture, so pick one up/order one before the new HDTV arrives. You also might want to consider a Blu-ray player with streaming, or Smart TV box like Roku or Apple TV. Many TVs have streaming services built in, but some external boxes offer more features or better functionality. You’ll need a high-speed Internet for them to work properly. Here is a link to our Roku review and an explanation of streaming services and apps.


Have a question for the HD Guru?
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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Sim

    This article was/is awesome. I prefer to buy at brick and mortar stores if the price difference isn’t worth the time it would take me to ship a return or if I just plain don’t feel like waiting. Like today for instance. My projector took a dump yesterday and Best Buy had the projector I wanted for the same price as the lowest I could find on the ‘net. I went today to get it and because my old projector used 25′ of fiber to the processor in my a/v cabinet then a short 3′ run to the video sources in the cabinet, I needed a 25′ hdmi cable. The only thing they had at my local Best Buy was a 35′ Monster hdmi cable for $279.00!! I ended up getting the Rocketfish wireless hd for $80 less but I think I am going to return it and get the cables and a 4×1 switch because I have to have it hanging out of my cabinet to get proper reception.
    Monster cables are a complete rip-off and Best Buy should be ashamed for selling them. I have an actual hatred for Monster and the crap they push on consumers and I believe that Best Buy intentionally short stocks (slightly) cheaper brands so when people get their TV at a semi-decent price their anticipation to play with their new toy pushes them to make a really bad decision. I developed my disdain for Monster back in the day when I worked IT and my manager ordered a bunch of Monster Hi-Speed dial-up internet cords. They were just big fat phone cords. I asked him “how is that 3′ cord going to make up for the 10,000’ of utp in the wall?” I guess there truly is a sucker born every minute.

  • Eric

    If you live in a sales tax state and buy on-line with no sales tax, I believe there’s a place on your annual tax form that requires that you report all internet transactions so the state can collect the sales tax at that time.

    Not that everyone reports all their internet purchases….

  • Brian

    Sean, I never once said that best buy shouldn’t be allowed to make money. And if you think that BB is only making money on accessories, and not anything else, well you’re either incredibly naive or a BB employee trying to spin.

    BB, like all companies, does indeed have loss leaders which they lose money on to drive traffic. But to sit there and suggest that BB is losing money on ‘all’ their core items and they must make it up on accessories? Give me a break.

    As far as picture quality in the store? You mean the same store that cranks the contrast up to the max in an effort to standout? A store that would show a ‘tuned’ tv next to one ‘untuned’ in an attempt to sell a calibration service, which turned out the ‘tuned’ TV was showing HD and ‘untuned’ was SD?

    The same company which, in its store, would show their website with higher prices than you would see at home, so they wouldn’t have to match their website in store?

    The same company which time and again has shown total and complete disdain for its customers?

    I already buy everything online. Amazon offers me 30 days IN HOME guarantee to make sure I love it, and offers to pay return freight and no restocking fee. That’s better service than what BB has.

    Sean, as I assume you’re a BB employee, if you can’t make your store worth the few percentage points better than an online shop, then you SHOULD be out of business. If you can’t make your customers’ experience worth that small difference, then you shouldn’t be selling. Period.

  • Sean

    Brian, MrPaul is right its not a level playing field the sales tax should be charged on every item if it is going to a sales tax state. Also regarding the “scalping” of the monster accessories. Please take a moment to think of how Best Buy can make money… selling all core products at a loss they need these accessories to continue to have their doors open. Unless you want to go and buy everything online, and not even look at your TV’s picture quality before you buy it. But you are right Best Buy has no right to make money. They should sell everything at a loss and all the brick and mortar stores should close and cost 60,000 people their jobs.

  • Brian

    mrpaul, if brick and mortar stores want to remain relevant, they need to adapt to the times. The example that they showed above is one of many, many reasons why brick and mortar stores are becoming more and more obsolete.

    Best Buy in particular is known for egregiously scalping its customers, and these ‘bundles’ are no exception.

  • mrpaul

    Go ahead and keep plugging how the internet sellers do not charge sales tax. This way more and more brick and mortar stores will close, thousands more will be laid off, and of course, the states will keep cutting services to their residents who want things for free. After all, why do we need police, fire protection, waste treatment and other things. Go ahead, tout the internet sellers till no one is working to buy from them. Capitalism needs a level playing field. All sellers should be able to compete on price, but taxes need to be uniform for all.

    Talk about shooting the messenger. We report the way it is, not the way you may want it to be. We want our readers to know the details. That’s why we write articles about consumer issues and try to help our readers make informed decisions on what, where and how to buy.

    BTW, not all states charge a sales tax. The last time I checked they still deliver all the services you mentioned.

    HD Guru

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