What you'll pay for a Super Bowl TV

If you're budget-minded, the 42-inch LCD HDTV is a good fit. But keep in mind that prices have also dropped noticeably on larger models.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 17, 2012 5:38PM

This guest post comes from Louis Ramirez at Dealnews.

 

With the Super Bowl upon us, you might be starting to wish for a television with more oomph to make the biggest sporting event of the year really pop.

 

Today's TV has evolved into a multipurpose device that can stream movies, browse the Web and keep you connected to your social network of choice. So if your TV can't do all that, you ought to be on the lookout for a new, fully equipped set -- especially since it's a buyer's market.

 

Since the Super Bowl is around the corner, and we recently just viewed a parade of new HDTVs at the Consumer Electronics Show, we decided it was a good time to take a look at the kinds of deals a tech enthusiast/sports fan can expect to find on modern-day HDTVs. With a focus on the screen sizes seeing the best discounts, we've combed through every HDTV deal posted in the past year to find out.

 

42-inch 1080p LCD HDTVs. While the TV industry is focusing on 55-inch sets and beyond, it's the humble 42-inch set that's seeing the biggest discounts. In 2011, 42-inch TVs dropped a whopping 53% in price, hitting an unprecedented $189 price point. Budget-minded shoppers looking to buy a new HDTV should look no further; here's where you'll find the best deals.

  • Brand name vs. generic: Name-brand TVs dropped 55%; generic TV sets dropped 52%.
  • Price to buy: Although we saw a 42-inch set go for as low as $189 over the holidays, it's still not common to find a 42-inch HDTV set priced that cheaply. Instead, we recommend keeping your eyes peeled for models at $349 or lower, which is still an unbelievably low price for these TVs.

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46-inch 1080p LCD HDTVs. These HDTVs are in an awkward position. They're too small to run with the 50-inch-plus crowd, but they're too big to be considered entry-level sets. It's for that reason that we noticed a scarcity of deals on 46-inch sets in 2011. As a result, prices in this category fell the least -- a modest 20%.

  • Name brand vs. generic: Name-brand TVs dropped 11%; generic TV sets dropped 29%.
  • Price to buy: Third-tier 46-inch LCD HDTVs have been hovering in the $400 price range since May. If you see a deal at $450 or below, we suggest going for it. As far as brand-name TVs are concerned, anything below $575 would offer the most savings.

55-inch 1080p LCD HDTVs. Although they were once considered the epitome of HDTVs, 55-inch sets are now taking a back seat to even larger 60-inch sets. For the consumer, that's good news, as we saw prices on 55-inch HDTVs drop 36% -- the second lowest drop of the bunch.

  • Name brand vs. generic: Name-brand TVs dropped 30%; generic TV sets dropped 43%.
  • Price to buy: More deals on 55-inch HDTVs translate to better prices. For generic sets, we recommend looking for deals at $700 and under. Brand-name sets will cost you roughly $100 more, as we frequently see them reach the $800 mark.

60-inch 1080p LCD HDTVs. For the holiday season, we saw a variety of 60-inch sets on sale, making the 60-inch HDTV the new holy grail of home theater. In 2011, prices on these televisions dropped 33%. However, the majority of the deals came from generic manufacturers, as name-brand HDTVs in this category are usually still in the $1,200-plus range.

  • Name brand vs. generic: N/A.
  • Price to buy: Since August, 60-inch LCD HDTVs have remained under a grand, so we're recommending buying any 60-inch set you see at $979 or under.

Plasma HDTVs. LCD technology may be enjoying its time in the limelight, but don't count plasma out just yet. In fact, 60-inch plasma TVs dropped 37% in 2011. Buyers looking to maximize their dollar should look for prices between $800 and $960. Even better news: Most 60-inch plasma TVs are made by brand-name manufacturers. So if you have your eyes on a big-screen TV, you'll save a considerable amount of money by going plasma.


The bottom line
A new HDTV should not be an impulse buy. Keep track of the features you want in a home theater system and be sure to measure for the appropriate size HDTV for your space.If you're looking for the hottest deals, turn to 42-inch LCD HDTVs. Deals on these sets are bountiful, and we're seeing new lows every month. For consumers who already own an HDTV, well, there's never been a more affordable time to own two.

 

Sports fans who want a more immersive experience, however, should skip the 46-inch set and upgrade to 55-inch or 60-inch, assuming you have the space. Our deals archive shows that you'll find better bargains on those sets (for what you're getting) than on 46-inch sets. We also expect the number of sales on 55-inch and 60-inch sets to increase throughout the coming year.

 

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