Black Friday 2016 HDTV Buying Guide


It may sound silly to say, but with 4K quickly gaining popularity, the time has never been better to buy a plain ol' HDTV. This may sound like madness, but with a severe lack of content in 4K and some very restrictive copy protection that would force many customers to upgrade almost their entire home theater, 4K just isn't ready for prime time in the eyes of many shoppers. The writing may be on the wall for HDTV, and the day will come that there are no more HDTVs on store shelves on Black Friday, but it is not this day!

The great news is that the rise of 4K has pushed the cost of 1080p sets lower than ever while still giving shoppers 30+ HDTVs to choose from on Black Friday, and this year we unceremoniously bid auf wiedersehen to regular LCD panels, as every TV you'll see here is LED lit! has combed through page after page of leaked ads and compiled our best picks for what could be one of the last Black Friday HDTV Buying Guides.

32" and Under

The simple fact is that if you need a pint sized set to fit in a guest room, the kid's room, inside an RV, or out in the shop, it will be a long time, if ever, that you see a 4K UHDTV in this size. The screen is just too small to tell the difference, and most manufacturers don't even bother trying to squeeze 1080p into sets this size bezel for that very reason.

Our Pick

Insignia 32" 720p LED HDTV with Roku $99.99 at Best Buy

Target may have a lower price on a 32" Polaroid offering found on page 7 of their ad, but the extra $15 spent on this 32' Insignia set goes a long way. This 720p 60hz HDTV features 3 HDMI ports, the most you'll find in this category. What puts this HDTV over the top is the integrated wifi with integrated Roku streaming, giving you robust streaming features built right in.

Runner Up

LG 24" 720p LED HDTV $79.99 – Best Buy

If 32" is a little too large for your space, or if you simply need the least expensive HDTV available at Black Friday, it doesn't get smaller or less expensive than the LG 24" 720p HDTV found at Best Buy. This set only has 1 HDMI port, so if that isn't enough, you can always head to Walmart where they will have a Samsung 24" HDTV for $98.00 that will give you one extra port.


The 40" HDTV has long been the sweet spot for most, with low prices and relatively large screen size for the price paid. This year, the 40" is the most competitive category in HDTV, with 10 sets from 5 retailers giving shoppers plenty of options. Unfortunately, if you want a more fully featured set, you'll have to look elsewhere since there are no HDTVs in this category that feature a 120hz refresh rate, enhanced or otherwise.

Our Pick

Insignia 39" LED 1080p Smart HDTV with Roku (NS-39DR510NA17) $179.99 – Best Buy

Integrated Roku features once again push a HDTV over the top, as this Insignia 39" 1080p HDTV available at Best Buy provides the most bang for your buck in this category. This set is the lowest price Smart HDTV this size available on Black Friday and features 3 HDMI ports, but strangely has composite only, with no RGB component inputs.

Runner Up

Element or Hisense 40" 1080p HDTV (ELEFW408/40H3B) $125.00 – Wamart

Walmart is the low price leader in this category with this $125 no-frills HDTV offering. Depending on your store, you'll be offered either an Element or a Hisense 40" 1080p 60hz HDTV, each with 3 HDMI ports.

Honorable Mention

–Samsung 40" LED 1080p Smart HDTV with $75 Kohl's Cash $249.99 – Kohl's

Since many people prefer to buy HDTVs made by more prominent manufacturers, we felt Kohl's deserved a mention in this category for their Samsung 40" Smart HDTV found on page 2 of their ad. Unfortunately there is no model number listed on Kohl's advertisement, so we don't know for sure what any of the specs for this set are aside from the 1080p resolution and Smart features. What we do know, however, that if you take advantage of their Kohl's Cash promotion, you can bring the net cost of this set down below the price of the winner in this category.

48" – 50"

The selection begins to dwindle down in the 48"-50" category, with only five HDTVs up for consideration here. There are a couple of clear cut winners here, but unfortunately neither of them have smart features. The sets that do have streaming capability also see their prices bleed into the 55" category where they are still beaten by a couple of doorbusters. If you want smart features and can accommodate the extra size, head to the next section.

Our Pick

Vizio 48" LED 1080p HDTV (D48N-E0) $249.99 – Best Buy

Best Buy blows past the competition by offering, yet again, a name brand HDTV at a slightly higher price than the competition. This Vizio 48" LED 1080p HDTV comes equipped with two HDMI ports and 1 set of shared component/composite inputs.

Runner Up

Element or Emerson 50" LED 1080p HDTV (ELEFW504A/*) $225.00 – Walmart

For many, cash is king on Black Friday, and if you want the lowest price available for an HDTV in this category, Walmart should be your Thanksgiving destination. There, you'll find either an Element or Emerson brand 1080p LED HDTV for only $225.

55" – 58"

It's in this category where the dwindling selection of HDTVs caused by the growth of 4K can really begin to be felt. Still there are a couple of great deals out there if you need an HDTV that's not quite 60"

Our Pick

Sharp 55" LED 1080p Smart HDTV with Roku – (LC-55LB481U) $249.99 – Best Buy

Best Buy has got one of the best overall deals you'll find on Black Friday with this entry. This Sharp 55" LED with integrated Roku Smart streaming features is far and away the best value in this category. Shoppers who are after this beauty of a Black Friday deal should be aware that although Best Buy opens their doors Thanksgiving Day at 5pm, this particular HDTV doesn't go on sale until Friday at 8AM.

Runner Up

Samsung 58" LED 1080p HDTV (UN58J5190) $429.99 - Best Buy (p5) Kmart (p32)

If you'd like to get as close as possible to 60" without going over, you can head to either Best Buy or Kmart, where you'll find the same model Samsung 58" HDTV for almost the same price. This HDTV features 2 HDMI ports and 1 set of shared component/composite jacks and can be found at Best Buy for $427.99 or at Kmart for $429.99.

60" – 65"

Shoppers who like their HDTVs like they like their servings of turkey and fixings can find extra-large HDTVS on sale this Black Friday. This year we wave a sad goodbye to any set over 65", as some of the 70"+ monsters we've seen over the past few years have moved on to the HDR green pasture of 4K.

Our Pick

Vizio 60" LED 1080p HDTV (D60N-E3) $398.00 – Walmart

Walmart is the low cost leader in this category, beating the next closest set by $100 with their 60" LED 1080p HDTV from Vizio. There are 2 HDMI ports and 1 set of component/composite jacks found on this set, but unfortunately, no smart features.

Runner Up

Samsung 65" LED 1080p Smart HDTV (UN65J6200) $798.00 - Walmart

Walmart makes a clean sweep in this category with the largest set offered anywhere this Black Friday. This Samsung 65" LED 1080p HDTV is as good as it gets this Thanksgiving, with 120z enhanced motion, 2 HDMI ports, and built-in wifi for the integrated Smart features.

Final Thoughts

This could very well be the last hurrah for HDTV on Black Friday. Last year, HDTV had a hard time staving off 4K deals, and this year they are dead even in the number of sets offered at nationwide retailers. That said, HDTV itself still has plenty of life in it, and it will be a few years if not longer before 4K becomes the standard. With some of the deals we've seen, Black Friday is still the best time of year to shop for a new HDTV.

Did you find a deal we missed? Head down to our comments and tell us about your diamond in the rough! While you're at it, make sure to like on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

November 17, 2016
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