Poking around for TVs on sale on any given day of the year is all but guaranteed to turn up at least some results. (We would know. We track TV deals weekly.)
Of course, retailers don’t casually offer their best TV prices of the year all the time. The amount of TV deals may be bigger or smaller depending on when you’re shopping, and if you do spot a discount, patience and a calendar check could render you more savings down the road.
What time of year do TV prices drop?
Times with an “s” would be a more accurate question, because you’re not screwed if you don’t have the time or the budget to scope out a new TV on Black Friday (though that is one of the best times to shop). Aside from Black Friday, the NFL playoffs and spring are two other times that you’ll find the most TVs on sale at lower-than-usual sale prices, including premium flagship models that don’t get much action otherwise. Let’s break down your options.
Time #1 to find the best TV deals: Black Friday
Month: Late October, November, and early to mid-December
People may not be throwing down in a Best Buy at the crack of dawn like they used to, but Black Friday TV deals are still unmatched — they’re just not nearly as fleeting.
Black Friday is trending toward a month-or-more-long affair at this point, with retailers shifting into Black Friday mode online as early as October. The extended time frame raises the question of whether TV sale prices will drop even further closer to Black Friday. Thankfully, most of the big retailers aren’t trying to trick you — in fact, Best Buy and Samsung will straight-up tag a certain deal as a Black Friday deal if they drop it ahead of time, confirming to buyers that there’s no need to hold out until the week of Thanksgiving.
This is an especially clutch time for budget shoppers looking for the cheapest possible version of a 4K TV at a certain size. During Black Friday, basic budget-friendly 4K TVs are typically the doorbusters that sell out soon after they drop — and are much less likely to return in the next few months. While premium QLED and OLED TVs will definitely also be on sale, many of those deals tend to stick around for a few months in the new year, and might drop even further in price when football deals start.
Walmart’s $148 50-inch onn. 4K Roku TV sold out quickly during Black Friday.
Post-holiday sales and New Year sales are absolutely a thing, but you can be confident that most TV prices are generally better before Christmas than after. We’ve seen firsthand how sale prices on TVs subtly go up by $100 or two (or three) during sales after the holiday compared to their Black Friday and pre-holiday prices. Of the TV deals that fluctuate after the new year, you can expect their Black Friday prices (or a price better than Black Friday) to pop up during the next big time to shop — NFL playoff season.
Time #2 to find the best TV deals: NFL playoff season
Month: Mid-January to early February
The people want to know: Are TVs cheaper after the holidays? The answer is technically yes, but not in the “after-Christmas sales slash New Year’s sales” way that you’re thinking. If you didn’t snag your TV during Black Friday, your next best bet is to wait in the wings until the end of January for football-fueled deals, which kick off near the start of the NFL playoffs (sometime in mid to late January) and last until the big game (some in early to mid-February).
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The month-long lead-up to the biggest football game of the year — one of the most-watched sporting events of the year — is prime time to find a TV on sale. In particular, these deals may focus more on TVs that are good for watching sports: i.e., big-screen QLEDs. The vibrant lighting supplied by a QLED panel is ideal for following small details like a ball or tiny score box, as well as the brightness of the team’s colors and the field to make your experience feel as live and in-person as possible. It’s not uncommon for most of these deals to be identical to what we saw during Black Friday, or in some cases, drop even lower in price due to proximity to CES. (See explanation below.)
There is one group of TVs that still may not be seeing their lowest possible sale price during football sales: If you’re eyeing one of the most premium, most recent models from a certain brand and still aren’t seeing a discount of more than $100 or two, you might consider pumping the breaks until spring.
Time #3 to find the best TV deals: Spring
Month: March and April
Flagship TVs from big brands don’t go on sale that often (we typically see more deal action happening with their mid-tier and base-tier counterparts). When the deals do happen on these expensive models, the discount may barely even be big enough to feel like a deal. ($200 off a $2,000 TV? Wow, you shouldn’t have.)
Until CES happens, that is. CES is a Las Vegas-based tech trade show where the latest and greatest consumer tech is unveiled to gadget enthusiasts in the industry ahead of release to the public. The annual TV release cycle mostly revolves around CES, as it’s where brands like Samsung, LG, TCL, and Hisense show off their new TV designs for the year. While these fresh releases aren’t the ones going on sale, TV deal shoppers should care about those new TVs because they force last year’s TV models to go on sale.
The best of CES 2024
The key here is that the best deals start not when the TVs are announced at the event in January, but once they’re officially up for grabs to the public in the spring. In 2024, we’ll be on the lookout for premium stragglers (the LG C3 and G3 OLEDs or the latest version of Samsung’s The Frame, for example) that have been at a plateaued price for months to finally see a new noteworthy discount during post-CES sales.
Now that LG has announced the M4 OLED, the popular LG C3 OLED should get receive a more intense discount.
Credit: Leah Stodart / Mashable
The one outlier here is Sony, which has been sitting CES out for the past few years in favor of its own release schedule — a very Apple and iRobot-coded tactic. In 2023, Sony announced its new line of TVs for the year in March (the month that most competitors begin shipping the TVs they announced at CES two months prior) and began shipping those new TVs in the fall. With this logic, you could only assume that Sony’s TVs from the previous year will be seeing their best discounts in the fall, which could coincide with early Black Friday deals.
Honorable mention: Prime Day(s)
Amazon is typically pretty low on the list of best places to buy a TV. While it does sell most of the same brands of TVs as competing retailers do, its sale prices are more volatile and often plagued by inflated original prices that make discounts look more intense than they are. (Pro tip: You can get a good idea of what an actually-good sale price range for any TV at Amazon by pasting the listing URL into Camelcamelcamel, a free Amazon price tracking site.)
However, Amazon stands out as a TV destination during the shopping holidays it made up for itself: Prime Day and Prime Big Deal Days (basically a second Prime Day). These events usually happen in July and October, respectively.
Naturally, Fire TVs are the focal point during Prime events, and these deals go hard — hard as in a 43-inch Amazon Omni 4K Fire TV for $99.99 for Prime Day 2023 and a 50-inch Hisense QLED TV for $149.99 for Prime Big Deal Days 2023. (These are wild screen size to price ratios that can only be rivaled by similar Walmart doorbusters on its TV brand, onn.) Both of those jaw-dropping deals were invite-only deals that you have to request to unlock, but it’s still a first come, first served situation that would be the case with any doorbuster deal. Interestingly enough, Amazon’s Black Friday invite-only deals for 2023 didn’t include a TV.
Speaking of other retailers, Amazon Prime events also trigger competing sales at Walmart, Best Buy, and Target. Unless Fire TV is already your comfort streaming platform, your best bet for finding TV deals during July and October Prime events is still to peep the wider variety of TV deals at Amazon’s competitors.