While it hasn't quite caught up to Thanksgiving ... yet ... Super Bowl Sunday is gaining traction as an occasion for gathering friends and family for an afternoon and night of feasting and fun, as well as the odd loud "disagreement," or two. It's also gaining traction as an excuse for finally breaking down and getting that really big screen TV. Makers and retailers couldn't be happier as that makes the run up to the big game a perfect time to mark down last year's sets to move them out ahead of the arrival of this year's newly announced models. But can you really score a great deal? Here's the 411.
Go deep, go big
If your set is a measly 42 or (shudder) 32 inches, you can still have a great Super Bowl party -- it just won't be a very big one. However a big, beautiful 55-inch, 60-inch or even larger set will have your guests drooling with envy. In the past, sets in these screen sizes have carried price tags that would have seriously eroded your budget for other luxuries -- such as food -- but those days are behind us. Big screen TVs still aren't cheap, but they've reached the point where they can be a consideration for many.
We name the Sharp LC-60LE640U as the best "budget" big-screen HDTV TV in our report on LCD TVs, and that's at its typical selling price of $1,500 (at the time the report was prepared). For Black Friday, Sears had the best deal on that set, offering it at $1,199.99. If you resisted the temptation then, you saved yourself a C-note as Best Buy is now listing that TV at $1,099.99.
Want something bigger still? Best Buy is also offering the 70-inch Sharp LC-70LE600U at $1,599.99. That's some $600 off of its regular selling price and around $200 less than on Black Friday, when it was offered as a special by Walmart. Feedback on this TV is limited, but users who own this mammoth set seem largely (no pun intended) pleased. Performance should be similar to the LC-LE640U set above, but the LC-70LE600U lacks that TV's smart features.
Speaking of Walmart and Black Friday, the store blew off the doors on Thanksgiving night by offering the very nice 60-inch Vizio E601i-A3 for a pretty impressive $688. That deal only lasted a couple of hours and if you missed it, well, you missed it. However several retailers are knocking around a hundred dollars off of that set's normal $1,000 price, selling it at between $888 (Amazon.com) and $899.99 (Best Buy), with Walmart offering it at $898. True, that's only a modest savings, but most reviewers call this Vizio set a pretty impressive bargain to begin with.
Are there other good big-screen deals that you can snag before the big game? There are a few, but not very many. One exception: Samsung has lowered the prices on a bunch of 2012 leftovers, and some would make great party sets. An example is the 55-inch Samsung UN55EH6000, which thanks to Samsung's Unilateral Pricing Policy (UPP) is being offered at lots of retailers (Sears, Amazon.com, Best Buy and others) at around $899 -- about a $500 savings over its normal selling price.