There are lots of deals this week in the tech world that are outside of the world of PC hardware, and not on Amazon or Newegg. As a case-in-point, in this article, I’ll be highlighting a few promising TV discounts from Best Buy.
The guiding principle I’ve used in selecting these three options is to get a 55″ 4K LCD TV that is well-reviewed (referencing reviews from RTINGS). 55″ is a solid balanced size for many living rooms—large enough to take advantage of the resolution, but not obscenely huge.
Below the list, I’ll go into detail on a few of the important aspects and features to be aware of.
3 Great Black Friday 55″ 4K TV Deals:
($280, down from
This is a newer version of a Black Friday deal TV that I’ve personally purchased in the past, which has been great. Minor issues are that it’s not as bright as would be ideal for watching during the day in a bright room, that there may be a bit of noticeable motion blur, and that the colors will shift a little when viewed off-angle. But you would probably have to pay twice as much to get a TV without those issues, and it will still be a great TV.
($500, down from
The TCL 6-series upgrade is significantly brighter, doesn’t have motion blur, and a little better overall, but also costs $500. Depending on your budget and preferences, those small performance differences may not be enough to set off the price difference from the stellar deal listed above—but this remains quite a solid discount on a well-reviewed recent television, so I’ve included it in this list.
($900, down from
The ultimate in picture quality is an OLED TV, using a brand new technology for uber-nice screen quality. Again, I’ll talk more about this below, but that’s the gist of why this option is so much pricier at $900, even after a significant discount. At any rate, the best deal for a 4K OLED TV at the moment is this 55″ Vizio.
Detailed Specification Concerns:
There are a few more things that you may be curious about when it comes to the specs of the units above, or of other TVs you might be considering. As such, I’ll just go over my reasoning a bit more while touching lightly on some common topics of interest, then I’ll go into a bit more detail on certain aspects and features that you might have heard about, or been concerned about.
As for the size, I think 55″ is probably the sweet spot for a TV. Larger sizes start to get significantly more expensive, and smaller isn’t that much cheaper.
Quality has gotten very good on TVs. Even cheap TVs today have excellent image quality and contrast, although they can still suffer from low brightness.
Speakers are still bad on TVs. If you care about sound quality, you’ll want dedicated speakers.
Any modern TV should have the inputs required for any device you may want to hook up, but the ports available on any given TV are still worth checking in advance.
You don’t have to pay much extra, if any, to get 4K (“UHD”) over 1080p (“full HD”). There’s no downside to 4K on a TV the way there can be on a computer monitor (since running games at 4K is significantly harder for a computer than running them at a lower resolution). Thus, for a living room screen, I would definitely get 4K.
I personally wouldn’t bother with anything over 4K just yet, as there is basically no content and the price is way too high. But if you’re not deterred by those issues, you might want to check out this recent post about 8K gaming.
Most panel types will be LCD, specifically VA or IPS. They are fairly similar. IPS tends to have less color shifting when you’re sitting a little horizontally or vertically off of the center axis, but VA has more contrast (blacker blacks and lighter lights). I would just check the reviews to make sure people aren’t all saying the colors change way too much unless you’re sitting right in front of the TV or something similar.
QLED refers to using quantum dots in the pixels of LCD panels. This can allow for the pixels to have more precise colors, but in reality, the other technologies without quantum in the name achieve similar results. It’s not a big enough deal to be something to pay attention to.
The one really different panel type is OLED (not LED LCD, that’s just a regular LCD panel with LED backlights, which is normal). OLED TVs have much better contrast, because each individual pixel is the light source, and can be turned on and off individually. They’re more responsive, because turning the pixels on and off is faster than shifting a traditional LCD pixel between opaque and transparent. They’re quite a bit more expensive, though, and long-term reliability is still a bit of a risky prospect. For example, if they’re left on, displaying the same image, they can “burn in” that image like an old CRT television. At some point in the future, all TVs and monitors will probably be OLED, but it’s new and expensive enough that I would probably still hold off myself.
You will see different refresh rates advertised on different televisions. Unlike for a computer, pretty much all conventional TV and movie content is limited to 30 FPS or lower, so the refresh rate of the TV is mostly just a marketing gimmick. Obviously, if you are planning to use the TV for gaming, then it’s important information.
Many TVs can extrapolate extra frames to algorithmically increase the frame rate, but this isn’t actually adding any information and I think it always ends up looking weird and bad. And since they’re all LCD panels, low refresh rates won’t look flickery, since the pixels stay lit until they change. In the majority of situations, I don’t pay any attention to the refresh rate of a TV.
A “smart TV” means it has a little HTPC built in, and will be able to play Netflix, Amazon Prime, Youtube, and other videos. The TV will hook up either with an Ethernet cable or to wifi, and you’ll be able to do everything with the remote. If you’re looking for a new TV in the current market, probably every option will have this, and anything from the last year or two should offer a relatively smooth control experience.
Common Smart TV types are Roku, Amazon Fire, and Android TV. Roku was once the best, but it seems like the others have caught up and they’re all good now. You can also buy a little dongle to hook up to a ‘dumb’ or smart TV on any model, so any TV can easily become a different type of smart TV for something like $30-50. So I really wouldn’t worry about this.