With Thanksgiving now just about two weeks away, it's no surprise that we're starting to see more Black Friday deals leaked. Today, thanks to the Black Friday website gottadeal.com, we got a preview of what one of the shopping holiday's big guns, Best Buy, will be doing. Once again, TVs will be one of the featured draws the chain hopes will lure shoppers into stores. While the ads don't list the advertised model, we tracked down the specific model numbers for the sets listed by matching the model to its listed SKU number, and provide them here for you.
Best Buy will also be offering some "online-only" Black Friday specials, which kick off Thanksgiving Day, but so far the store hasn't listed prices for these deals.
Doorbusters. Best Buy's Black Friday in-store sales begin at just after midnight, early Friday morning. So-called "doorbuster" specials, typically offered for a limited time and in limited quantities, are generally extremely good deals, as their intent is to drive traffic into the store where the retailer will hopefully also sell you more profitable goods.
Among Best Buy's doorbuster specials are a 32-inch Panasonic LCD, a 55-inch LCD TV from Samsung, and a 40-inch Toshiba LCD TV. The Panasonic is a 720p set, the other two are 1080p models. The Toshiba, model 40E220U, is priced at just $180, down from a current price of $420. The set is a basic 40-inch 1080p LCD TV with a CCFL backlight and 60Hz refresh rate. This model, in Consumer Reports' current TV Ratings (available to subscribers), had better sound than many Toshiba sets we've tested, though it wasn't great.
The Samsung set, priced at $800, is a 55-inch 1080p LCD TV with an LED backlight and a claimed
240Hz 120Hz refresh rate. [Note: The Best Buy literature had this stated incorrectly.] We believe that this set is a "derivative" model—created just for Black Friday—that will be sold exclusively at Best Buy, so it has no current price.
Also offered as an in-store special is an entry-level 32-inch 720p LCD TV from Panasonic, priced at $190. The TV, model TC-L32C5, is a very basic model that currently sells for about $300. This set is also in our Ratings, and unlike most Panasonic LCD TVs we've tested, had a relatively narrow viewing angle.
Those looking for a Blu-ray player may find the $40 price tag on Toshiba Blu-ray player appealing. The player, model BDX2300, is Wi-Fi-ready (it accepts an optional adapter) and has access to online content, including streaming movies and TV shows from CinemaNow and Netflix. The sale price is half the player's current $80 price tag. This model did well in our Blu-ray player Ratings.
More sales. Beyond the doorbuster specials, Best Buy is cutting prices on several other major-brand TVs. For example, a 55-inch Panasonic passive 3D LCD TV with an LED backlight, 120Hz technology, and four sets of polarized 3D glasses will sell for $900. This TV, model TC-L55ET5, is currently priced at $1,400. This model has built-in Wi-Fi, and comes with Panasonic's full Viera Connect online service, with a full Web browser and access to online content, including streaming movies and TV shows from Amazon, Hulu Plus, and Netflix. You can find our complete review in the TV Ratings.
Best Buy is also offering the TV as part of a bundle with a sound system with a wireless subwoofer. The package price for the TV and sound system is $1050. The ad doesn't mention the model number, but we believe it's the Panasonic SC-HTB350, a 2.1-channel home theater system that includes speakers that can be removed from their stands and connected to form a soundbar. That system normally sells for $300.
The ad also features several Samsung TVs. The biggest is a 65-inch 1080p LCD TV with an LED backlight and 120Hz technology, which will sell for $1,498. The TV, model number UN65EH6000FXZA, normally sells for $2,000. Though the ad calls it a 120Hz set, Samsung claims a 240Hz refresh rate. Surprising for a set this size, it has only two HDMI inputs. We tested a 55-inch version of the UNEH6000 series, which is a fairly basic model.
For those looking for a mid-sized TV, Best Buy will have a 46-inch 3D Samsung 1080p LCD set (UN46EH6030FXZA) for $648, down from $800. The TV, a 3D model, has an LED backlight, a claimed 240Hz refresh rate (though the ad again describes it as a 120Hz set) and it comes with two sets of 3D glasses. The TV has just two HDMI inputs.
Another 3D LCD TV from Samsung, the 40-inch UN40EH6030FXZA, will be priced at $498; it's currently selling for $700. The TV has an LED backlight, a claimed 240 refresh rate, and comes with two sets of 3D glasses. A 39-inch 1080p LCD TV from Samsung, with an LED backlight and a 60Hz refresh rate, will be priced at $398, down from $450. The TV, model UN39EH5003FXZA, is a fairly basic 1080p model.
If you're looking for a larger screen size from a different brand, a 60-inch 1080 Sharp LCD TV will be $1,200, $200 less than its current selling price. The TV, model LC-60LE600U, has an LED backlight and a 60Hz refresh rate.
As we mentioned, Best Buy will also be offering a number of online-only Black Friday deals. One listed is a 39-inch Insignia LCD TV (model NS-39D240A13) with an LED backlight. There's no sale price yet listed for this TV, a 60Hz set without a lot of features; it's currently selling for $400.
We'll be continuing to report on Black Friday TV deals, and as we get closer to the shopping holiday we'll be posting our assessment of the best deals we've seen. Keep checking back for our updates, and let us know if you come across any great deals we haven't covered.
Gottadeal.com, Black Friday Best Buy ad scan
—James K. Willcox