The 5 Best Places to Buy a TV Online
As we head in to the big game for football fans, the sales on TVs have been going pretty strong. This year we’ve seen more TV discounts than last year, some which even match Black Friday and holiday pricing for the major brands. So, if you feel like you missed out on Black Friday, don’t worry about it, the TV companies are still digging deep to capture your attention. But where should you buy from? Here are our top favorite places that offer consistently good deals on TVs for online shoppers—some obvious and some not.
This local New Jersey retailer may seem small but has a large online presence and is authorized for the major brands that they sell, including Sony, Samsung, and LG. Every month we see prices at their online store that are the "best of the web" for certain models. Brad's Deals also often works directly with them to create exclusive deals for our readers. Despite being physically on the east coast, they ship nationally for free. Plus, they only charge sales tax in New Jersey, so most online shoppers will save money there, too.
If you live in the New York or tri-state are, you've probably heard of P.C. Richard & Son. They've had a strong local presence in that area for decades. But they also ship TVs nationally, often for free, and they have great deals on the big brands. Their best deals tend to be "hidden," meaning you have to add it to the cart to see the actual sale price. Often, we'll see prices that are $50 to $100 less than the competition. The only drawback with this retailer is that some of its national shipping is "curbside" only, which means you have to be home when the TV arrives. Always check the shipping conditions when placing an order.
While it might seem strange that we would recommend a PC company as a place to shop for TVs, hear us out. While the selection is not as high as other TV retailers, Dell adds on gift cards with large amounts on them, some as high as $350. For example, this Samsung 55" 4K Smart TV comes with a $200 gift card. While these cards for use on Dell's site only, they sell a good amount of electronics and accessories to make it very useful. With that much free spending cash, you could get a decent soundbar to go with your TV. The card will arrive separately via email and you's have to wait a week or so to use your card but it's totally worth it in the end. And the prices for the TVs that come with a card almost always match the lowest prices online for that model. It's a win-win.
This New York retailer is well-know in the camera world and has had a very strong catalog business nationally for decades.While they started out in cameras, for many years they have been an authorized deals for many computer and consumer electronics brands. They don't tend to have prices on TVs that beat other retailers, but they often match the lowest prices for the brands that they sell. And because of their strong customer service and free national shipping, we thought they were worth mentioning. They also only charge sales tax in two states, so that may save you some cash, as well.
This one seems obvious, and it is, but when it comes to TV shopping it's hard to beat Best Buy's pricing on a consistent basis. They almost always have some kind of TV sale going on. It doesn't mean that they always have the best prices, but if you have a particular model and brand of a TV you want, it's always a good idea to check and see what Best Buy is selling it for. Also, shipping is free on just about all their TVs, and they have store pick-up in most areas if you need it fast.
Why not Walmart and Amazon?
While both these retailers offer good prices on TVs, they come with baggage. Some of Walmart's biggest promotions are for brands that are third-tier and they are the only place that sells them. Those deals might seem incredibly cheap and hard to pass up, but will give you exactly what you pay for in the quality department. And the higher end models pretty much will match the same prices everyone else has.
Amazon is also more often just matching prices with everyone else rather than offering unbeatable deals. And when they do actually beat everyone else, those deals often become the victim of Amazon's "dynamic pricing" model, which means the price could go back up just hours after you last looked at it. That can make for a very frustrating TV shopping experience. So, while we're not saying "no" to either of these retailers, they don't rank in our top five.
What to look for
If you’ve been waiting to upgrade to 4K, now is the time. And you if have the room, we recommend 50” or higher. Go big or go home, right? Other features to look for are high dynamic range, aka HDR, which is a technology that widens or refines the gamut of colors you see on your TV. As for refresh rate, this is where things can get tricky. The biggest discounts will be on 4K TVs that still only offer native 60Hz refresh rates, though many will have “120 technology” that claims to improve motion rates. But this may not be that big of a problem. While native 120Hz is good for fast moving sports, it makes regular TV look a bit weird (google the term "soap opera effect") and most turn off that feature half of the time. It's a highly debated topic among TV aficionados, but it's probably not as big an issue if your biggest shopping criteria is price.