Black Friday 2015 HDTV Buying Guide

Introduction

Introduction

There is nary a single Black Friday item that garners as much excitement and enthusiasm as the HDTV. They are the centerpiece of any Black Friday ad from a retailer that stocks HDTVs, and the price wars that occurred yearly between retailer grab national headlines every holiday.

This Black Friday finds HDTVs in the middle of a transitional period between 1080p and 4K HDTVs, with many retailers pushing larger sets in the 4K format, while 1080p holds strong on anything below 50”. For those after a 1080p HDTV, there are dozens of choices available across all variety of sizes.

With 4K becoming a more prominent Black Friday deal than anyone expected, our readers have demanded a 4K-specific guide, and we’ve responded with a resounding “YES!” So if you are specifically after a 4K set, stay tuned for the first-ever BFAds 4K HDTV guide, where we will profile the best in 4K HDTV deals this holiday season.

Of course, all this techno-babble can be confusing for many readers, so if you’re finding yourself confused, keep reading! Our 2015 HDTV Buying Guide will explain these terms and everything in between.




24” and Under HDTVs

As the prices and availability on larger sets continue to plummet, it’s hard to believe the 24” category still exists. Yet, each and every Black Friday, these diminutive sets appear in ads, and this year three different retailers have discounts on these tiny HD wonders. The 32” category beats every offering in this category dollar for dollar, but if you’ve got a spot in a kitchen, RV, or bedroom where a larger set can’t be accommodated, Black Friday has still got something for you.

Winner

LG 24” 720p HDTV (24LB451B) $79.99 – Best Buy

Best Buy has the least expensive offering in this category with their LG 720p HDTV. There are no frills on this set, as it offers only a single HDMI port and a shared set of component/composite inputs. However, it does have positive reviews, with 731 Best Buy customers giving it an average of 4.5/5 stars. With so many HDMI devices out there, make sure you can get by with only one HDMI port before you pick up this set.

Runner Up

Samsung 24” 720P Smart HDTV (UN24H4500AFXZA) $147.99 – Best Buy

As surprising as it is that 24” HDTVs still show up in Black Friday ads, it’s downright shocking to see a smart TV in this category, but on page 7 of Best Buy’s ad, you’ll find just that. This Samsung 24” is the most fully equipped TV of this size featured in Black Friday ads, and has 2 HDMI ports along with shared component/composite inputs. The integrated smart features add a great deal of value to this, since it saves those all-important HDMI ports from being used by a streaming device.




32” HDTVs

The 32” HDTV bargain is as synonymous with Black Friday as long lines and cold weather. With no signs of slowing down, this year’s 32” offerings come from 6 different retailers and, surprisingly, offer some new and exciting features never before seen on an HDTV on Black Friday.

Winner

Westinghouse 32” 720p HDTV $99.99 w/ $15 Kohl’s Cash – Kohl’s

Kohl’s steals the show here with their 32” 720p HDTV offering from Westinghouse. Not only does this match the lowest price 32” HDTV advertised this Black Friday, but if you’ve got other shopping to do at Kohl’s, the extra $15 Kohl’s cash makes the net cost of this set only $85. Since the Kohl’s ad offers no other information on this set, be sure to check the specifications on the box on your way to check out to be certain this set accommodates your needs.

Runner Up

TCL 32” 720p Roku HDTV $125.00 – Walmart

Although it isn’t the least expensive set in this category, our runner up here offers what might be the most value of all the 32” offerings. This 720p 60Hz HDTV from TCL has Roku software integrated right on the TV, offering the same superb level of streaming access right for which Roku is famous without having to actually purchase a Roku device. For only $25 over our top pick, this set is a no-brainer if you’re a fan of streaming media.

Honorable Mention

Westinghouse 32” 720p HDTV $99.99 – Target

Shoppers who will already be at Target, or for those who simply want a no-frills 32” HDTV at the lowest price and are uninterested in funny money can head down to Target and grab this 32” Westinghouse 720p HDTV for only $99.99.




40”- 43” HDTVs

This year marks the first time in the last 5 years that the number of Black Friday HDTVs in this size range has actually lessened from the previous year. This year, there are 12 HDTVs in the running here, but this category has become less attractive altogether since many of the ~50” sets have seen price points that are lower than many of the offerings here. Still, for those whom neither need nor want a set larger than 43”, there are some great bargains to be found this Thanksgiving.

Winner

Insignia 40” 1080p LED HDTV (NS-40D420NA16) $159.99 – Best Buy

While this set is $10 more than Walmart’s 40” offering, we feel that is $10 well spent when you consider what that money gets you. Firstly, there is no mystery surrounding this set - this Insignia 40” 1080p LED HDTV features 2 HDMI ports, 1 set of shared component/composite inputs and has a 60Hz refresh rate. The second, and perhaps most important advantage of this set is that it’s not a special Black Friday SKU. This HDTV has a 4.5 star rating after nearly 1000 reviews, and because it’s a regular SKU, you won’t be left in the cold should you run into problems with this HDTV.

Runner Up

Samsung 40” 1080p LED Smart HDTV $319.99 + $90 Kohl’s Cash - Kohl's

Kohl’s is one of four nationwide retailers offering this exact model of Samsung smart TV for under $320. The cash price at Kohl’s on this 40” LED 1080p Smart HDTV with 2 HDMI inputs is actually $2 higher than Target, Best Buy, and Sears. But like Rudolph’s nose on a hazy Christmas morning, Kohl’s Cash is back again to light the way to even more savings, with an astounding $90 incentive to purchase this item from Kohl’s over other retailers.

Honorable Mention

Seiki 43” LED 1080p HDTV (SE43FK) $279.99 – Sears

If not for the significant price incentive Kohl’s brought to our runner up, this Seiki 43” LED may have taken our runner up spot this year. Still, this set has a lot going for it, not the least of which is the 3 HDMI ports you’ll find on this LED TV.




48”-50” HDTVs

Our next category waves a fond farewell to the 46” HDTV altogether, and along with that comes a reduction of the total number of sets featured in Black Friday ads for consideration in this category. There are 14 offerings from 5 retailers, and although there are many to choose from, the prices are lower than ever before.

Our Pick

Toshiba 49” 1080p HDTV (49L310U) $149.99 – Best Buy

For the second year in a row, Best Buy has managed to steal this category out from under the other retailers. And also for the second year in a row, Best Buy has delivered the lowest Black Friday price ever seen on an HDTV of this size, beating their own winning deal last year by $50. What sends this pick into the stratosphere is that this 49” 1080p HDTV for $149.99 featuring 3 HDMI ports is not from a house brand or questionable manufacturer, but from Toshiba, one of the most trusted names in electronics.

Runner Up

Samsung 48” 1080p Smart HDTV (UN48J5200AFXZA) $379.99 – Best Buy

Best Buy is also the place to be this Black Friday for those who want the rock bottom price on a Smart HDTV of this size. This Samsung 48” LED set is $50 less than the next HD set in this category (which happens to be the exact same model offered by Sears) and features 2 HDMI ports and smart features that make streaming Netflix and Hulu a snap.

Honorable Mention

LG 49” 1080p HDTV $369.99 w/ $105 Kohl’s Cash – Kohl’s

Kohl’s squeezes their way into victory once again with their Kohl’s Cash incentives. While there is nothing else known about this set aside from the fact that it’s a 49” 1080p LED set from LG, when you factor in the Kohl’s cash savings, this TV drops in price low enough to compete with Walmart’s Emerson offering, and beat it by $5. If you don’t mind Kohl’s Cash subsidizing your savings, pocketing $5 and bringing home a well-known and trusted brand HDTV by LG makes this a great bargain.




55” HDTVs

The 55” HDTV category has been overtaken this year by an influx of 4k sets that have narrowed the 1080p offerings in this category to only a handful, and only 5 of the 19 entries are 1080p. While there may be slim pickings as far as variety goes, the winners here are all some of the lowest prices ever featured on Black Friday for 55” HDTVs.

Our Pick

Westinghouse 55” 1080p LED HDTV $249.99 – Target

At long last Target makes an appearance in the HDTV winner’s circle by offering the lowest price of any retailer this Black Friday on a 55” HDTV. This Westinghouse 1080p LED set looks to be a special Black Friday-only SKU, so the details are scant, but what we do know is that this price is $100 lower than anything the competition has to offer.

Runner Up

Toshiba 55" 1080p LED HDTV (55L310U) $349.99 – Best Buy

While Westinghouse might be a world-renowned manufacturer of wind turbines, they aren’t particularly celebrated in the world of HDTVs. Shoppers looking to get their hands on a discounted 55” HDTV from a reliable HDTV maker can find the pick of the litter at Best Buy, where this Toshiba 55L310U will be on sale for only $349.99.

Honorable Mention

Samsung 55” 1080p LED Smart HDTV $498.00 – Walmart

While there are two 55” 4k sets that priced lower than this 1080p Smart TV, taking your first foray into 4k with brands like Hisense and Element is not for the faint of heart. If you instead want a well-reviewed model of Smart TV from a trusted name, this 55” HDTV from Samsung is right up your alley. While both Sears and Best Buy have a similarly equipped set, Walmart beats their price by over $80.




60” HDTVs

If we said the 55” category had been overtaken by 4K, the 60” has been positively ravaged by them. Of all the eligible ads for this category, there is but one 60” 1080p HDTV on sale this Black Friday, although it is available at three different nationwide retailers. This at least offers a bit of flexibility on where you’ll be this Thanksgiving if you want to grab this TV and also get some more shopping done.

Our (Only) Pick

Samsung 1080p LED Smart HDTV (UN60J6200) $697.99 – Best Buy, Target, Sears

It’s a three way tie of sorts for the top pick here, and in fact, this model of HDTV is the only 60” set featured in Black Friday ads that is not 4K. If you feel like 4K is not yet ready for primetime and want the lowest Black Friday price on a 1080p Smart TV from a trusted brand like Samsung, then you can have your pick of retailers. Target and Best Buy each will have this set for $697.99, while Sears will charge you an extra $2 to have the convenience of a doorbuster price that is good all weekend.




65”+ HDTVs

To recap, 4K HDTVs have overtaken the 50” category and ravaged the 55” category. With only 3 out of 15 HDTVs 65” and over being 1080p, 4K has obliterated this category! So why does this category still exist? Because of the sheer madness of Black Friday! The choices are small but the savings are huge, and this year’s pick beat’s last year’s third place offering by over $500.

Our Pick

Vizio 70” 1080p LED Smart HDTV $898 – Walmart

Walmart mops the floor with the competition in this category by offering a 70” Smart HDTV for $550 less than last year’s Honorable Mention winner. In fact, this is the lowest price we’ve ever seen on a TV of this size on Black Friday, making this sure to be a hot item this Thanksgiving. With no available SKU or details other than what we’ve listed in the title, there is a bit of an unknown element to this deal. For a 70” Vizio for under $900, most will see it as a worthy calculated risk to set your sights on this super-sized HDTV.

Runner Up

Samsung 75” 1080p LED Smart HDTV (UN75J6300) $1,999.99 – Sears

Sears pulls out a rare win here this year with their 75” Samsung Smart HDTV for $1999.99, a savings of $200. This set is about as large as you can get this Black Friday without both spending over $1000 more and moving to a 4K set. The price on this set is good throughout the holiday weekend, while supplies last.




Final Thoughts

We may sound like a broken record to those who read our guides every Black Friday, but it simply cannot be overstated. HDTV accessories including HDMI cables and wall mounts are some of the worst deals that can be found at retailers. Even Black Friday sales are overpriced compared to the everyday prices found at online retailers like Amazon or Monoprice. If you do manage to nab one of these or any HDTV, you’d pocket even more money by looking to online retailers first for HDTV accessories.

With a few key ad leaks still remaining, and less than two calendar weeks until Black Friday, the mania that surrounds the busiest shopping day of the year is reaching a fever pitch. Even after we’ve broken each and every Black Friday ad for retailers across the country, we’ll be hard at work searching those ads to bring you our signature buying guides on the hottest Black Friday items including 4K HDTVs, laptops, video games, tablets, smartphones, and more!

You won’t want to miss a bit of the action, so be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and download our new smartphone app so you can make sure the perfect Black Friday bargain doesn’t slip through your fingers.


November 16, 2015
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