Need a new TV to watch the big game? Ahead of Sunday's matchup, most major retailers, including Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Sears (OTC:SHLDQ), and Target (NYSE:TGT), are offering big discounts on HDTVs.
Unlike the deals offered on Black Friday, most of the TVs on sale this week are the larger, more expensive sets -- the sort of TVs best suited for a Super Bowl party. Buyers looking for a large screen will have dozens of different models to choose from, but a few deals in particular stand out:
60-inch Vizio at Target or Best Buy
Both Target and Best Buy are offering a 60-inch Vizio E-series for $800 -- Amazon is currently charging $1,000 for the same set. The E-series is Vizio's mid-tier, which means it doesn't come with all the bells and whistles of the high-end TVs, but it's full 1080p HD and has a smart TV interface -- owners can access all the standard apps like Hulu and YouTube.
CNET named Vizio's E-series as one of the best in terms of value, concluding that it was a "solid midlevel LCD TV." In particular, CNET noted that it performed well in brightly lit rooms and had deep black levels.
50-inch Panasonic at Sears
While the Vizio E-series made CNET's list of the 10 best TVs for the money, it only came in at No. 5. Topping the list was Panasonic's 50-inch ST60, a plasma set with 3-D capabilities and a smart TV interface.
Sears is currently offering that model for $1,000, which it claims is $150 off the normal price. Buyers will have to take Sears' word for it, as it appears to be one of the only retailers with that TV still in stock. Last year, Panasonic announced that it would no longer make plasma TVs -- much to the dismay of plasma fans everywhere. In general, plasma sets have their drawbacks (they use more electricity and generate more heat), but are widely praised for offering the best picture quality at their price level.
Samsung TVs with soundbars at Amazon
In contrast to Panasonic, Samsung plans to continue making plasma TVs. Those who want one and are willing to spend a little more should head over to Amazon. The Web giant is currently running a special on select Samsung sets, offering free soundbars or tablets with the purchase of some models.
Among those offered is the Samsung F8500 series: It's a high-end plasma TV offered in 51-, 60-, and 64-inch varieties at $1,700, $2,300, and $3,000, respectively. Engadget praised the TV; CNET called it "Samsung's best-performing TV ever."
If you buy one of those models from Amazon, it'll throw in a free 280-watt Samsung soundbar (normally $240). Buyers who find that particular model substandard have the option of getting a $250 discount on one of Samsung's more expensive soundbars.
A 75-inch Samsung at Costco
If 64 inches is too small, Costco is offering a deal on a Samsung 75-inch LED TV. It's part of the UNF6300 series, one of Samsung's higher-end LED TV lines. It's a stylish TV with a tiny bezel and Samsung's excellent smart TV platform -- it can even control your cable box; CNet complimented its "above-average" sound quality.
At $2,500, it isn't cheap, but Costco is offering a better price than any of its competitors. The same TV at Best Buy or Wal-Mart will cost you $200 more, though you'll need to be a Costco member to take advantage of this sale. Still, you could purchase a Costco membership ($55) in addition to this TV and still come out ahead.
The absolute cheapest set
A 32-inch TV won't provide the best viewing experience for a Super Bowl party, but those in the market for the absolute lowest-cost TV (bigger than a typical computer monitor) can pick up a $180 Insignia at Best Buy.
It's a pretty bare-bones set with no smart TV features and only two HDMI inputs. Insignia doesn't have the greatest reputation (it's Best Buy's private label), and it's only 720p -- but with a 32-inch screen, you probably won't notice.
As the centerpiece of your entertainment center, this isn't going to impress many people. But those who need a second TV for the bedroom could find this set to be a good value.