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3 best pre-Super Bowl deals for a new TV

The newest technology doesn't come out until spring.

By Karen Datko Jan 28, 2010 12:32PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Shoppers hunting for a good deal on a new flat-screen before the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts meet to battle for Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida on Feb. 7 won’t need to resort to a Hail Mary pass. (That’s lingo for a desperate and usually unsuccessful maneuver, for you non-football fans.)

 

Television prices dropped, on average, 20% to 30% during 2009, says Paul Gagnon, the director of research for DisplaySearch.com, a consulting subsidiary of market research firm NPD Group. The usual price drops from advancing technology were additionally fueled by tough economic times. Manufacturers have less pressure to discount this year, but prices should still drop by another 10% to 20%. "We're seeing a lot of great, big TVs finally come into affordable price points," he says.

Sales leading up to the Super Bowl are typically among the best of the year, with many meeting lows set during the holiday shopping season. But if you’re drooling over the latest bells and whistles like 3D HDTV or more Internet connectivity, this is not the time to splurge. Manufacturers’ latest TV lines with those features (and higher price tags) won’t hit shelves until the spring and summer. To avoid buying a so-so set, read expert and consumer reviews at sites like CNET.com and Retrevo.com before you buy.

The best discounts -- of roughly 30% -- fall into three categories:

 

Plasma TVs. Plasmas can offer a better picture than LCD screens, but they also use more energy. Manufacturers have to get aggressive on pricing to compete. Weigh the disadvantages and advantages before you buy.

  • At Best Buy,a 50-inch 1080p Samsung plasma is on sale for $1,000, a 29% discount from its regular $1,400 price tag.
  • Sears has a 50-inch 720p Panasonic plasma on sale for $700 instead of $1,000. You’ll save 30%.
  • Amazon.com has a 42-inch 1080p Panasonic on sale for $765. That’s a discount of 23% from the original $1,000 price.

Screens 40 inches and bigger. Manufacturers and retailers know what consumers are looking for this time of year. “A big TV is a natural fit for a big sporting event,” Gagnon says. There’s a bigger profit margin on large sets, so they are able to offer better discounts to compete:

  • Target has a 47-inch 1080p Philips LCD on sale for $848, a 19% discount. Regularly, the set goes for $1,050.
  • At Wal-Mart, a 52-inch 1080p Samsung LCD is on sale for $1,139, a 29% discount from its original $1,599 price tag.
  • Crutchfield has a 40-inch 1080p Sharp LCD on sale for $800 instead of $1,100. You’ll save 27%.

Internet-connected Blu-ray. If you’re satisfied with your current set but looking for a little extra oomph, consider a new Blu-ray player. Many can connect to the Internet, offering a picture-in-picture window for browsing. “You can manage your fantasy football team while watching the game,” says David Berman, a spokesman for the Home Theater Specialists of America, an industry group.

  • Wal-Mart has a Samsung Wi-Fi-enabled Blu-ray player on sale for $138 instead of $188. You’ll save 27%.
  • At Amazon, an LG Blu-ray player with NetCast is on sale for $167.23. That’s a 33% discount from the usual $250 price.

Related reading at SmartMoney:

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