Best time to buy a new HDTV

Well, the Big Game is nearing. I’d call it the Upersay Owlbay, if you know what I mean, but with laws the way they are nowadays…

Anyways, I really don’t care much. My team didn’t make it, even if my family’s number two choice did (Go Steelers!).

I’d like to get an HDTV. I’m contemplating doing it soon. Thing is, with the Big Game around the corner, I know that places around here will be moving big TVs pretty quickly. Of course, I imagine they’d also be adjusting their stock to compensate.

So…I guess what I’m looking for is someone knowledgable to tell me if I’ll find the best prices right before the Bowl? Right after? A month after when management decides “oh hell, we’ve totally overordered on big TVs”?

Whaddya think, sirs?


I am not a salesperson etc. but I was always under the impression (wrong?) that buying anything from a used car to furniture was a mistake in the first 3-4 months of the year. Because many people get large tax rebates and go blow it on big ticket items. And the stores do not have as many sale prices because of that. Of course I could be wrong.

Well first of all make sure you can get HDTV on your cable or satellite. I can’t. If you’re planning on just using an antenna, be sure you buy a HDTV with an ATSC tuner, that’s what’s needed to receive via antenna. If you don’t you’ll need to buy a ~$200 tuner box.

As far as the best time, I recently read that Japan’s fiscal year ends March 31st and that’s also when new models come out and old ones should be marked down. Also, I’ve heard prices drop after that consumer electronics show they just had this month.

So I’d say roughly April or May. But of course whenver you buy one, they’ll be cheaper a few months later.

I bought my 63" DLP one month before the Super Bowl. I had a great deal. I got two years free financing, free delivery and installation, and a huge gift card. I brought in this ad from some place in Maine that advertises on the internet. While the store didn’t match it, they came pretty close (within 8%, iirc).

We started seriously thinking about buying an HDTV sometime before Thanksgiving. Online research proved invaluable before we started actually visiting video and electronic stores. We sat back during the holidays and compared models, prices, features, etc. We went through about 25-30 models from probably more more than five manufacturers.

Our hard-core boots on the ground direct shopping only started around Christmas. We bought our 50-inch LCD projection HDTV on New Year’s Day. The store did not have it in stock that day. I picked it up on the following Thursday and had it running within an hour after getting it home. By the weekend, I had all the connections in place to truly enjoy the experience.

In the end, I don’t think the timing made any difference. The model we purchased came out in August, 2005. There were enough online reviews of the model we purchased so that we were able to make comparisons with the top three models we had in mind (and checked out firsthand on New Year’s Eve), that our New Year’s Day purchase was made in confidence. (In our last day research, the pedigree indicated the model was not only an upgrade from previous years’ models, but addressed and corrected a few minor problems.)

We purchased our HDTV from a reputable dealer who really wanted our business, perhaps because we showed them our research. They knew we were serious and mind games would not work with us. In the end, the price we paid was anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 less than any other dealer (direct or online). We even got the five-year extended warranty (at a discount, too!) because the cost of the warranty was less than the replacement cost of the LCD projection bulb. The dealer told us even if the bulb does not blow or appear to wear out substantially within five years, just use the warranty and replace the bulb anyway.

I thinking buying an HDTV is like buying a computer. There really is no good time to buy, because inevitably the day after you make a purchase, you will find a better deal or a better model comes out. If you take the time, do the research and pound the ground among the various stores (and actually do hands-on testing of every model you are interested), you’ll be fine.

I’ll go along with this. New models and new technology will make prices come down. Unfortunately these aren’t based on any type of schedule like new cars or motorcycles. In the meantime prices go up and down on a particular tv (on sale or not on sale) at the whim of the business. They all have weekly ads with different models so I guess you could say there are some on sale every week.

They do change up offers though and you usually get one ‘perk’ out of the bunch.
One week they may have the TV regular price but you get a free DVD player with it. Another week the TV may be on sale for $100 off. Another week the TV may be regular price but they have 20-month no-interest financing on it. Depends on what’s most important to you.

Yeah, it’s a tough decision.

I don’t want to drop all the money in one shot, and right now Best Buy, for example, is offering 3 years same-as cash.

I’ve only got one other dealer in town as far as I know, apart from the likes of Circuit City, of course…


Moved to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

We bought a 42 inch plasma a year ago Thanksgiving. The price of that television has gone down almost $500 since then. Do I regret not waiting? No. As mentioned, there will always be a newer model with more bells and whistles for cheaper…but if I waited for them to come down to under $300, I would be so old all I would want to see is re-runs of Matlock.

There was a cartoon strip I saw a few years back. There was guy standing in front of two electronics shops. One said “New Computers!” and the other shop said, “Day Old Computers, 50% Off”.

That pretty much sums it up. No matter when you buy, you are pretty much guaranteed to see your model cheaper a few months later, and a lot cheaper a year later.

I work for a home theater retailer. We sell tons of HDTVs.

The advice I’d give you has already been given by others. Probably the best time to buy, as control-z said, is in fact April or May. That’s because demand is lessened by the tail-end of the networks’ TV seasons, the lack of football (a HUGE driver for the market), and April is when the new models start to trickle out from the manufacturers, so they want to get rid of the old stuff.

However, that’s just the best time from a price standpoint:

From this perspective, the best time to buy will always be right now. If you have the money, why not enjoy it as soon as possible? If you wait until the prices drop, you’re never going to buy one.

And stores are VERY interested in selling as many TVs as they can, so don’t worry about huge demand driving up prices; there’s a lot of inventory out there–we’ll be able to find you a TV.
One note: If you want the Super Bowl in high-definition, make sure you can get it in time from your provider. If you call DirecTV or Dish Network, they may not be able to set you up with an installer before next Sunday. Your cable company’s MMV. If you get a TV with an ATSC tuner, you can get the game via an OTA antenna if you can pick up your ABC affiliate’s signals; go to and enter your home address to see how far and in which direction the TV station’s tower is broadcasting its signals.

We love our Vega (looks like Wega, but it’s bad shadowing). We got a real good deal on it. Others have given good recommendations, but I would stress making damn sure your set has an HDMI connector, and shell out the bucks for a gold plated cable (around $100-$125). All the difference in the world.

I think that if you are using HDMI, the cable won’t really matter, as it’s a digital signal, so it won’t partially degrade. If it’s a super-cheap cable in a tough enough environment, the signal will die entirely, but there will be 100% no difference between an adequate cable and a super-fancy cable.

I’ll take your word for it. And I’ll assume that we’re on the good side of the 100%. Our picture is phenomenal on 1020i broadcasts.

I’m ‘happy’ that this is a decision I don’t yet have to make. We got all hot in bothered over the 50 Inch DLP from samsung…In the intervening three years, the price has gone from $3200 without stand to $1800 with stand (labelled Akai, but still a samsung).

Now, I discovered they up/over/down converted to 720p, I’m certain it’ll all look gorgeous, but the 1080p version of the DLP chip is dropping in price quick and where three years ago, one or two companies made DLP tv’s, now a bunch do.

Course, the 10 year old Toshiba is still going, and I don’t have any dough available if it died, and you’ve gotta budget for HD sources if you want the best results.

Sound words. Don’t get sucked into buying overpriced cables made to sound like it will IMPROVE your image. That will save you money right there.

For a common cable you should be able to find any of them for under 30 bucks (unless it’s a long run or special use).

And NEVER buy Monster brand unless it is on super discount.

A good rule is to never buy your cables at the same place you buy your TV/Hi-Fi/Computer. They get the mark-up special cables. Good cables but only worth 1/4-1/6 the price. Get cables from a parts store like Radio Shack or

I’ll agree with you here however Radio Shack is getting just as bad as the big box retailers. Last time I was in there they too were trying to sell their brand of the super-special-ultra cables claiming they made all the difference.

I’ve never understood why such things aren’t illegal. You’d think that among the millions of statues on the books, there’d be at least one dealing with the practice of intentionally defrauding and misleading people.

Good to know.

Radio Shack is an odd place. Some stores are better than others. I think this has to do with some stores being corporate (suck) and others being franchise (not as much suck).

I know of one franchise store that has the regular Radio Shack branded stuff as well as off brands. The off brand cables they carry are of very nice quality and can be had at a good price. I got several 10 foot RCA runs for about 10 each. A nice heavy gauge with a good coating and plug. The stuff branded Radio Shack didn’t even come close to being as nice.

Ok, enough about cables and Radio Shack. Back to the OP.

I plunked my money down on a 42 inch Plasma EDTV because I’m not ready to replace my TIVO and DirecTV with new HDTV units. There isn’t that much HDTV programming yet to make me feel like I’m gaining anything. I have 450 DVD’s that look great on EDTV so I’m going to wait a few more years until HDTV is everywhere before I move over to that format.

I got a great deal on the EDTV screen even though I paid far more than I’d ever thought I’d pay for a television. We really were looking for a space saver (mount on wall) and something that looked nicer than a big plastic box when turned off - which is how it spends most of its life.

Food for thought I guess.

Time Warner in our area has about eighty HD channels, including the amazing HDNet and INHD channels (two of each) and two each for HBO and Showtime. Unfortunately, though, their ABC is 720p because unlike the other networks, ABC won’t broadcast their HD to TW for free.

I am sooooo jealous. Here in Dallas we have, uh, 8 broadcast channels, 4 premium movie channels, Discovery HD, ESPN HD, TNT HD and two INHD. 17. And for some reason I’m not getting Discovery HD or the two INHD’s.