Black Friday 2015 4K HDTV Buying Guide


Black Friday 2015 is looking like a great year for those wanting to make the move to a 4K HDTV, with over 4x the number of sets we saw last year featured in Black Friday ads. All the big name HDTV retailers and manufacturers are getting into the game, so the only question left is, how do you choose?

We here at heard your demands and because you wanted it, we present to you our first ever Black Friday 4K HDTV Buying Guide

Before we get started, there are a couple of things you MUST take into consideration before purchasing a new 4K HDTV this Black Friday.

4K Content - There are not a lot of sources of 4K content, so if you want to immediately wow yourself at all the extra pixels 4K brings to the table, you'll need a source of 4K media. Right now, the main options are a few offerings from Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, and Youtube. You'll also need a 4K capable player like the new 2015 Amazon Fire TV (On sale for $74.99 at Staples), and a subscription to those services.

Black Friday Sku's and HDCP (If you read nothing else in this introduction, read THIS) - Special Black Friday SKUs are always a bit of a gamble since they are basically manufactured to be sold on one day of the year and are never seen or heard from again. Most times, shoppers aren't even given a model number or any specification listings aside from resolution and maybe refresh rate and smart features.

Purchasing a special Black Friday SKU 4K HDTV is especially risky because of copyright protection called HDCP which prevents HD content from being pirated over an HDMI cable. 4K content requires HDMI 2.0 and the newest HDCP version 2.

All the acronyms sound confusing, but the bottom line is this: 4K HDTVs that lack HDCP 2.2 will NEVER be able to receive 4K content over the HDMI port. This means you will not be able to use 4K streaming media players, 4K bluray players, or 4K cable boxes should they ever materialize. HDCP 2.2 is a hardware upgrade, so there can never be a software update to allow you access to this content, and the only way you'll be able to view 4K content is by ill-gotten means, or by streaming content from the TV's integrated Smart Features.

So when looking at the ever-tempting lowest priced 4K HDTV in Black Friday ads, know the risk you may be taking by purchasing a mystery product. You could be locked out of the content you paid good money to view.

With that said, there are some great 4K HDTVs on sale, and we have verified the features of as many model numbers as possible to make sure the set you buy is ready to receive glorious 4K content now and in the future.

40" - 50" 4K HDTV's

LG U6400 Series 4K HDTVs - 4K HDTVs in this size range begin at 43" with the LG 43UF6430 for $399.99 at Best Buy. This set has garnered a lot of attention because it's the lowest price ever seen on a 4K HDTV on Black Friday, and this is the ONLY model in this category for which we've been able to find a full specification listing.

Update: After reaching out a few times for questions, LG has contacted us directly to let us know the entire line of UF6400 LG 4K HDTV do have 1 input which supports HDCP 2.2, which makes this set more enticing.

However, has learned that the entire line of UF6400 LG 4K HDTVs lack HDCP 2.2, and therefore, are locked out of 4K content over HDMI. However, the UF6400 line is listed by Netflix as 4K compatible, and is capable of streaming 4K from Netflix directly through the TV's smart features. If you don't purchase physical media and do most of your content streaming from Netflix, it is a viable option, since the 4K content offered by Neflix will continue to grow with time. However, if your viewing habits were to change, these sets will not accommodate 4K content over the HDMI ports.

55" - 60" 4K HDTVS

The 55" - 60" category is where things start to get interesting. Here we have some genuine contenders for a permanent spot in your living room, with fully featured 4K HDTVs at steep discounts. Of course, the lowest price sets are the Element and Hisense brand mystery SKUs offered by Target and Walmart, respectively, but as we've mentioned, those sets are a high-stakes gamble since there is no specification listing aside from resolution and screen size.

Our Pick

Vizio 60" 4K Full-Array LED Smart HDTV (M60-C3) $799.99 - Dell Home

Our overall winner is a deal not to be missed for those after an entry-level 4K HDTV this Black Friday. This 60" 4K HDTV deal from Dell Home not only beats most of the smaller sized 4K sets in price, but it's the only set under $1000 to feature a refresh rate higher than 60Hz. A full-array LED lit panel means local dimming will produce excellent color and deep blacks. A word of caution, although this set features 5 HDMI ports (more than any other HDTV this holiday) only one of those ports is an HDMI 2.0 supporting HDCP 2.2. In the future if you need to connect more than one 4K device, you'll have to invest in a HDCP 2.2 compliant home theater receiver.

Runner Up

Samsung 60" 4K Full-Array LED Smart “SUHDTV" (UN60JS7000FXZA) $1,299.99 - Best Buy

Shoppers who want to dive into 4K with a better equipped 4K HDTV can find a $200 discount on this Samsung 60" “SUHD" set at Best Buy. SUHD is Samsung's spec for vastly improved color fidelity in their premium sets, and a quad core processor means switching between apps and streaming content is as zippy as it is colorful. No need to worry about future proofing here, as all 4 of the HDMI 2.0 ports found on this set support HDCP 2.2.

65"+ 4K HDTVs

The 65" and over category is one of the most crowded 4K HDTV categories with 12 different sets crammed into retail ads. These larger sets are where 4K begins to truly shine, as the added real estate means viewers can better see the incredible detail that 4K offers without moving closer to the television.

Our Pick

Samsung 65" 4K Full-Array LED Smart HDTV (UN65JU6500) $1,399.99 - Sears

Sears arrives from out of nowhere and steals away our top pick in the largest-sized category. As Part of their 3-day sale, Sears offers this 65" beauty which features a quad core processor for improved performance and 4 HDMI 2.0 ports with HDCP 2.2 for all your 4K content needs. With the new All-View feature, you can stream content back and forth from this HDTV to your Samsung Galaxy device.

Runner Up

Panasonic 85" 4K Full-Array LED Smart HDTV (85AX850U) $8,499.99 - Panasonic

Panasonic's surprising Black Friday sale was shockingly competitive compared to Black Friday veteran retailers. The stand out of the ad is the huge discount applied to this monster of a flagship 4K HDTV. First and foremost, the colossal 85" display makes this the only Black Friday 4K set that is truly equipped to show off the beauty and detail of 4K UHD content, with full-array LED backlighting behind a THX-certified panel, this set is manufactured to impress in a way that only Panasonic could. Of course, HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 are present, for worry-free 4K content delivery. What sends this deal into the cosmos is the massive $3,500 discount over any previous retail price for this set. If you're after the biggest and best 4K HDTV this Black Friday, look no further.

Final Thoughts

One last thing to keep in mind when purchasing a 4K HDTV is the HDMI 2.0 ports present on these sets means there will be high priced HDMI 2.0 cables on store shelves. For the time being, you probably won't be needing HDMI 2.0 compliant cables, since those cables are made to support 60 frames per second content, which is sparse and limited to only a couple of youtube videos.

Now that you've got your eye on your new 4K HDTV, don't forget to stay tuned to to help plan your attack on other Black Friday deals such as tablets, laptops, video game consoles, and more. While you're at it, download our smartphone app to take BFAds with you wherever you go, and for up to the minute Black Friday news, ad leaks, and price breaks, don't forget to follow us on twitter and like us on Facebook.

November 16, 2015
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