When should I buy my new TV?
September 10, 2008 7:06 AM   Subscribe

When is the best time to buy a new tv?

I'm moving into a new apartment at the end of the month and I want to buy a new tv. Currently my roommates and I have a hand me down tv that has some color and sound issues on occasion. Its functional, but now that I'm getting my own place, I think it may be time to invest in my own new television.

I'm in Manhattan, so space is definitely at a premium. I won't know until I move in (Oct 1st or thereabouts) exactly how much space I have, so I can't buy until at least then. Our current tv is about 20" I think, for the four years prior to this I was using a 13" tv, so I don't need a huge tv. But if I'm going to invest hundreds of dollars, I want something that I'll have for years. I was thinking a 32" or 37" LCD, but that's not set in stone.

My question is whether October/pre-Christmas is a good time to buy a tv with those sorts of specs or whether I should wait until the pre-Super Bowl sales (or after? Are there deep discounts in mid-February)? If the savings were likely to be a couple of hundred dollars, I'll definitely wait, as the tv we have now is serviceable, if not great. If it's unlikely to change much, I'll get a new one soon so I don't have to move the old one.

If it matters as to what tv I'll buy and how prices will move, I don't play videogames and am unlikely to buy a system. I do watch a lot of sports, if that makes a difference. Thanks
posted by Caz721 to Technology (11 answers total)
Like computers, the best time to buy is usually now. Why? It's almost always true that there will be a big sale in a few months, so even if you wait a few months, a better deal will be right around the corner.

There are a few things that can make a difference to you as a consumer though though. Right after a particular manufacturer has introduced a new model, last year's model tends to go on clearance. Also, there are times when it's convenient for you to buy a TV, and times when it isn't. That can depend on personal liquidity, living arrangements (i.e. don't buy a 50" TV just before you move), whatever.

I go about buying major electronics this way: I set my price point. Then I keep my eye out for a few weeks, up to a month or two, getting a feel for the market and looking for the occasional deal that brings something a little nicer than usual within my price range. Then I get it. This requires being willing to shop for that length of time, but I tend to be pretty satisfied with what I get.

Also consider things like Craigslist. Major caveat emptor, but you can find some pretty good deals, especially in a market the size of Manhattan.
posted by valkyryn at 7:29 AM on September 10, 2008

The day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) is the best day of the year to buy a new TV. There will be outstanding deals on 32" and 37" LCDs at big box retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City, although you may have to put in a fair amount of effort to get one. Then again, some of the Black Friday deals are available online too. It just depends.
posted by prozach1576 at 7:29 AM on September 10, 2008

Ignore the waiting game- you'll wind up finding more and more excuses not to buy just yet. Meanwhile, you don't have a decent TV. I just bought a TV last month, and my friends can't believe how cheap it was relative to their comparable sets. Amazon has consistently excellent prices (and free delivery + unboxing).
posted by mkultra at 7:32 AM on September 10, 2008

You'll always get a better TV by waiting, but eventually you have to decide which is better - having a TV, or knowing you'll get a (possibly) better deal. 'Black Friday' will most likely see crazy deals this year. Super Bowl time will generally give you some really good deals as well, but sometimes those turn out to be nicer sets.

Electronics buying is always going to be a trap. When you buy something, a little while later you're probably going to see it slightly lower. If you decide to wait on the better deal, you'll always be waiting.

Lots of the bigger electronics sellers on the web (Geeks.com, Tiger Direct, etc) offer factory refurbished sets for a decent discount, just for another alternative. Watch sites like Dealhacker, Dealnews, Woot, etc. for some other options as well.

Short answer, there's always going to be a better price down the road a couple months, but if I were in your position, I'd see what I could get the day after Thanksgiving (lots of the online resellers will have specials, you don't necessarily have to brave the mall).
posted by pupdog at 7:42 AM on September 10, 2008

On (no) preview, what everyone else said. I knew watching 'Fringe' while I was writing this would slow me down...
posted by pupdog at 7:44 AM on September 10, 2008

As others have said, the best time to buy a TV is whenever you see a good deal. In past years, the only truly available black friday deals have been for crappy TVs that aren't worth even the discounted price.

(I'm sorry, the Samsungs and others just plain look far better than a Vizio, Westinghouse, or other budget brand)

For some reason, I keep ending up buying them between February and May.
posted by wierdo at 8:19 AM on September 10, 2008

You'll always get a better tv by waiting. That said, I would just keep my eyes on the deal sites (fatwallet, slickdeals, etc) and have an idea of what's a good deal. Then when you see one, pounce.
posted by inigo2 at 8:22 AM on September 10, 2008

this, this, and this, although maybe dated could help. but honestly, like others have mentioned - if you see a good deal now, you should go ahead and buy, instead of just waiting. inevitably there will be always be a "better" deal.
posted by ecks at 9:35 AM on September 10, 2008

There was a prediction a couple of weeks ago of a big price drop for LCD TVs in October.

I figure that a lot of the US is going to be replacing TVs in anticipation of the digital broadcasting switchover in February, and that the competition for those sales will be pretty fierce toward the end of the year. (But like everyone's saying, the best time will probably continue to be next quarter, and you can drive yourself nuts playing the waiting game.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:42 AM on September 10, 2008

> But if I'm going to invest hundreds of dollars...

You should buy a new TV when you don't consider a consumer electronics purchase an investment.

That being said, if you can wait until about 6:00am on November 28th, you'll be in good shape.
posted by bensherman at 10:00 AM on September 10, 2008

« Older a blessing, a doom and a pryde walk into a bar...   |   I'm looking for a cable that will both charge and... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.