Earlier this month, we blogged about some TV deals that caught our eye in the first wave of leaked Black Friday circulars. Now that the bulk of the circulars -- and the last-minute surprise add-ons to those circulars -- have made the scene, the full picture on TV deals for Black Friday and Black Friday eve has come into focus. Since the shopping holiday is more about value and bottom-line pricing, it's really no surprise that discounts on top performing sets are modest at best. However if good-enough performance is good enough in exchange for a hard-to-beat price, there are some buys to be had. Check out our earlier post for some pretty good deals. In addition, here are a couple of others to consider.
Sharp's $200 42-inch TV
The Black Friday offer of a 42-inch Sharp LC42SV49U for $199.99 at Best Buy, is creating more than its fair share of buzz. That's not surprising; a penny less than $200 is a price tag that would be pretty good for a set from a brand you had never heard of let alone for a set from a top-tier maker. Before you get too excited, however, a quick look at the specs (which Sharp finally posted on its web site), make it pretty clear that this isn't one of the company's top performers. It's one of the few sets Sharp still makes that fails to earn its Aquos moniker, and the TV lacks much in the way of advanced technology. While the resolution is 1080p, you won't find a 120 Hz (or higher) refresh rate, an LED backlight, or any type of streaming or 3D support. Pluses include surprisingly good connectivity for the price point, including 4 HDMI inputs, though the apparent lack of audio outputs could be a problem in some set ups. The TV also carries EnergyStar certification.
Our Take: Videophiles will -- and probably should -- view the Sharp LC42SV49U with disdain. However, if you are on a strict budget, and can live with this TV's shortcomings, it's still a pretty good buy at more than half off of its nominal selling price. You'll need to line up for this one, however, as Best Buy is only promising 10 per store, and this deal won't be available on line.
LG's 47-inch 3D TV and Blu-ray player bundle
We've said it before, and we'll say it again -- we're not the biggest fan of 3D on home TV sets. But if you are determined to put yourself in the middle of the action, we think that -- despite its shortcomings -- the passive technology used in sets from Vizio, LG and some others is the most family-friendly approach. We previously blogged about the 42-inch Vizio M3D420SR; it goes on sale for $598 at Walmart at 8 a.m. Black Friday morning (how quaint). But if you want a little bigger screen (a good idea if you want 3D to deliver more impact) and need a 3D Blu-ray player as well, the offer of an LG 3D LED TV, 3D Blu-ray player and four pairs of passive 3D glasses for $799 is also worth considering. No need to get up early or stay out late for this one, however, as the offer has been part of several pre-Black Friday sales and is already live at Walmart.com.
First, though, a couple of caveats (aren't there always in this type of deal?). We very much like the LG 47LW5600 (see our report on LCD TVs for more), but this isn't that TV. Instead it's a step down version, the LG 47LW5300, that was specifically created for this bundle. Contrast is specified lower (so blacks will likely suffer in comparison), connectivity is reduced by one HDMI input, and, notably, LG's well-regarded Internet streaming features have been stripped out. Likewise, the BD645 Blu-ray player looks to be specific to this bundle, and is low-featured aside from the inclusion of 3D support. Unlike some -- make that many -- Black Friday TV deals, we found a bit of guidance. One expert reviewer weighed in at the bundle's release this past summer, and opined that it wasn't a terrific deal at its then suggested price of $1399.99. However, things look quite a bit sweeter at $799, and users posting at Walmart.com and BestBuy.com give the bundle good, if not glowing, feedback.
Our Take: Not a bad choice for someone that wants to get in on the 3D fun from scratch. If the lack of streaming is an issue, there's always a Roku box for $100 or less (see this blog post).