How to Find a Deal on a TV for the Big Game

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New TV for the big gameYou might not envision spending thousands of dollars on a ticket to Sunday’s Super Bowl, but you can still grab a sweet deal on a 55-inch TV and get a 50-yard-line-view from your couch.

Consumer website DealNews.com says the best deals are on 55- and 60-inch high-definition TVs. “Get the biggest screen size you can afford and accommodate, because you’ll have less incentive to upgrade later,” said Louis Ramirez, the site’s senior features writer.

If you want the best value, start with at least a 55-inch LCD model with 1080p resolution, Ramirez said. Some retailers may be selling older 720p resolution sets, but these often are not the best deal with 1080p the current standard. “There is no point in buying something outdated,” Ramirez said. “The savings are not going to be that great.”

A 55-inch model from a lesser-known brand, such as Best Buy’s Insignia, will cost between $547 and $649. A name-brand set of the same size will run about $700, Ramirez said. You can upgrade to a 60-inch brand-name set for about $900 — not a bad deal, considering just a few years ago these TVs were well above $1,000.

For the past two years, a 55-inch 3-D set was considered the pinnacle of HDTV technology, Ramirez said, but customers just weren’t buying. Maybe it was the $100 3-D glasses — a major expense for a large family.

The new push is for Ultra HD models, which have several times the resolution of prior displays. As a result, the price is narrowing between 3-D and non-3-D 55-inch HDTVs, Ramirez said.

If you must have 3-D, look for a brand name 55-inch priced at or below $800.

In the smart vs. dumb HDTV debate, Ramirez said it is important to first assess what you want to watch — and how to receive it. All 2013 big-screen TVs should have built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections for streaming content, and some brands have entered partnerships to support specific content from services like Vudu or Netflix. This may not be the case for 2012 models, so be sure to ask for specifics.

You can find great HDTV deals in stores, but you may find even lower prices online. If you do shop online, look for free shipping, Ramirez said — unless you want white-glove delivery, which can run around $300.

Brick-and-mortar retailers try to discourage “showrooming,” when shoppers go to a store to test an item before buying it online. But if you’re planning to buy online and are undecided about what to buy, it may be worth the time to compare different models in a store.

Once you’ve decided on the model, you need to consider a few other costs.

The No. 1 thing you need for high-def viewing is an HDMI cable, said Ramirez. If you shop in-store, a salesperson may try to sell you a fancy cable that costs $100 or more. Ramirez suggests shopping online and paying no more than $10 for a plain HDMI cable.

Want to mount your new TV on the wall? Basic mounts run about $25 to $30. Motorized mounts allow you to change the TV’s position with a remote, but many start at around $150 or more.

If you’re not the handy type, plan on spending at least $100 for professional mounting.

Source: MCT Information Services