Q. I’ve been reading about the new TVs this week at the Consumer Electronics Show and I was wondering if this is a good time to buy a new one, particularly with the NFL playoffs, and the Super Bowl coming. What do you think? My friends say they have a bunch of bargains around the Super Bowl time. — Mickey, Dunkirk, Maryland.

Mickey, despite what you hear, the lead-up to the Super Bowl is not the best time to buy a new television.

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During the NFL Playoffs, and the week before the Super Bowl, retailers (both retail and online) will offer special discounts on some sets to get you in the door. But most TVs are not discounted at all during this time. (And if they are discounted on Black Friday, it’s usually just a few sets that sell out in a few hours.)

The lower prices during the playoff season are reserved for a handful of models that both retailers and TV makers are trying to get rid of because either there is a large inventory and/or they are older sets no longer in demand.

Retailers will sell some models for reduced prices, but most sets retain their normal price. The stores are hoping the splashy discounts will attract shoppers who then proceed to buy the regularly-priced TVs because they are usually better sets with more bells and whistles.

So when is the best time to buy a new television?


TV makers usually release their new line of TVs every spring. And when they do, they carry bigger price tags because they are loaded with the latest features. The set manufacturers, and their retail partners, consequently lower the price on the older models to get them out of the store fast so they can make room for the new pricey sets that generate more profits.

This is not to say you can’t get a good deal before the Super Bowl. But spring is definitely the time when you will see the most bargains on top-quality TVs.

So if you hang in there for a few more months, I think you’ll find the set you want at the best price.

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— Phillip Swann