Q. I am thinking of buying a new TV for the Super Bowl, one that is 65 inches so we can really enjoy the game. I hear a lot of deals on TV ads, but how do you know you are really getting a deal? They mention prices in the ads but I have no idea if that’s a good price or not. Can you help? — Stella, Greenbelt, Maryland.
Stella, I hear you! Super Bowl 55 is in six days and the electronics stores are saturating the TV airwaves with catchy (and loud) commercials for the latest sets. The ads usually say something like, ‘Samsung 65-inch 4K TV! Now Just $999!’ But what does that really mean? What was the price before? The retailer, of course, doesn’t tell you that because, in some instances, the discount may be small or nearly nonexistent.
So 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, Best Buy is now selling a 65-inch Samsung 4K TV for just $499, which is comparable to its Black Friday price.
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 or ConsumerReports.com and search for some reviews by their model number. (If CNET or Consumer Reports liked the TV, it’s a winner. The sites are among the best 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 or Consumer Reports 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.
Stella, I hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann