Q. I am definitely thinking of buying a new TV to watch the Super Bowl in 4K. But is this the best time to buy one or are the stores doing a lot of fancy marketing to get you into the store and then sell you something with little discount? You know what I mean? — Danielle, Bowie, Maryland.
Danielle, I know exactly what you’re saying. The Super Bowl is in 11 days and the electronics stores are now saturating the TV airwaves with catchy (and loud) commercials for the latest 4K sets.
Since the big game will be available in 4K for the first time ever, it’s a good time to considering buying a new 4K model if you don’t already have one. (See this article on which TV providers are offering the game in 4K, and what other equipment you might need to see it in the new picture format.)
But are there really good deals now, or are the TV stores just making it sound like every set is available for a massive discount?
The answer, of course, is yes to both.
During the NFL playoffs, and the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, TV retailers (both online and physical) do offer special discounts on some sets to get you in the door. The stores are hoping the splashy price cuts will attract shoppers who then proceed to buy the regularly-priced TVs because they are often better sets with more bells and whistles.
But if you can resist that little sales trick, and do some research, you can find a top-quality TV with a significant price break. For instance, Amazon is now selling a 55-inch Samsung 4K TV for just $447 and a 65-inch model for just $597.
So, how do you find these hidden gems, and make sure they are of top quality? Take these six little steps:
1. Get a copy of the Super Bowl ad from your neighborhood electronics store.
2. Carefully scan the sets that look interesting to you and select a handful.
3. Then, go to CNET.com and search for some reviews by their model number. (If CNET liked the TV, it’s a winner. The site is the best around for judging the quality of televisions.)
4. If the review looks good, do a Google search (or Bing, etc.) for when the set was first introduced on the market. You’ll see what the price was then and get some idea of how big today’s discount really is.
5. Go to the store (or the web site) and ask to see the sets you have chosen based on the discount and the CNET review. (And definitely don’t let the sales person distract you by suggesting you look at a different TV.)
6. If one feels right to you, snap it up. But if it doesn’t, walk away. Despite what any sales person might say, there will always be good deals available. You just might have to come back in a few more days, armed with some additional research.
Danielle, I hope that helps. Happy viewing!
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— Phillip Swann