TVs: The Basics
Buying a new TV can be overwhelming -- the size, the specs, manufacturer-specific jargon, and the expectation that a new set should last at least five years means that your head will be swimming with numbers, even before price gets factored into the equation. To make the buying process easier, the experts at DealNews are always seeking out the best TV deals to share with you. And here we put together helpful information to know before you buy your next TV.
Common TV Terms
HD: High Definition Television, or a television broadcast with a resolution of at least 720i, although commonly seen at 1080p.
4K/UHD: Commonly refers to a native resolution of 3840x2160, although the professional industry standard is 4096x2160.
HDR: High Dynamic Range. HDR refers to the color gamut and brightness of a display. Many HDR subcategories exist, and the most popular ones include HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision. (For more information, see our HDR guide .)
LED LCD/QLED/OLED: Refers to the actual illumination/pixel panel of the TV.
- LED LCD: Light Emitting Diode/Liquid Crystal Display. It's by far the most inexpensive and common panel in consumer TVs. It utilizes LEDs behind or on the edges of the LCD panel to illuminate the pixels in large localized groups.
- QLED: Quantum-Dot Light Emitting Diode. The pixels in these panels are lit by LEDs along the edges of the panel (similar to LED LCD panels), but the TVs also employ a quantum dot filter to achieve higher brightness than OLED panels, at the expense of response time, contrast, and black levels.
- OLED: Organic Light-Emitting Diode. These TVs essentially have a thin film that can illuminate individual pixels when supplied with current, thus creating more brightness and a truer black level. These also tend to be much slimmer TVs, as they don’t employ traditional LED backlighting.
Refresh Rate: This is the speed at which a display refreshes the image. The faster this happens, the less motion blur is observed in quick-moving images. The standard is 60Hz, although 120Hz (and higher) are quickly becoming mainstream. It should be noted, however, that many manufacturers often obscure the actual specs with terms like “motion rate” or “effective refresh rate.”
TV Deals by the Numbers
We’ve listed nearly 500 of the best deals on TVs just this year. Of these, the vast majority of those on sale were smart TVs , although some of the lowest prices we’ve seen per size category have been for non-smart sets. (From a personal perspective, I feel that combined with the lower outright price, the value in having a non-smart TV lies in a hassle-free upgrade as new streaming media players come to market. No need to worry about a manufacturer phasing out the updates for your set!)
While OLED panels are the “cream of the crop” in terms of picture quality, that quality still comes at a premium. The average price of the new 55” OLED TVs we’ve seen this year comes in around $1,700, compared to $511 for QLED sets and $435 for LED TVs . (Note that these numbers are for new units only. For refurbished TVs , the average price of an LED set was only a hair over $309.)
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most common TV features to look for?
Once you’ve figured out the size of TV you’re looking for, consider what resolution and type of panel or display you’d like when reviewing the countless tv sales. (The budget you’ve set aside will also play a large role in determining these features.) Do you want a smart TV, with baked-in streaming apps for your Netflix / Disney+ / Hulu binges? If so, will you need a set with WiFi, or can you hook it up directly to your router? How many HDMI inputs do you need? While HDMI switches are available, having a game console (or two), streaming media player, cable box, and digital TV antenna can add up quickly.
What does 'native resolution' mean?
Native resolution refers to the default resolution, or number of pixels, that the display has. It's presented as the number of horizontal pixels by the number of vertical pixels. To simplify this, most resolutions have adopted more common terms, such as 1080p (1920x1080) and 4K (3840x2160 -- roughly four times the pixels of 1080p).
What are the benefits of a smart TV?
Smart TVs are internet-enabled sets with a manufacturer-supplied operating system. They often include apps for the most popular streaming media platforms, along with web browsers, social networking and chat apps, and future firmware updates from the manufacturer. In short, if you’d like to skip the hassle of hooking up a Roku, Apple TV, or Chromecast device, a smart TV is the way to go. Additionally, many sets now feature AI assistant integration, allowing voice control with your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices.
Where should I buy a TV?
Aim to find TV deals from reputable retailers, such as Best Buy , Walmart , Target, Costco, and Sam's Club . If you're shopping online, be sure to check the return policy before you buy, as you'll want to be able to return the TV if it's delivered with a defect. Additionally, if you find TVs on sale at a retailer you don't want to shop, look into price adjustment policies at stores that you do trust. There's a chance you could end up paying less without having to sacrifice confidence.
What TV should I buy?
It depends on your budget, as well as what kind of model you're looking for and when you want to make your purchase. You might trust more well-known brands, but that doesn't mean lesser-known ones aren't worth checking out.
Which TV brand is best?
The best TV brands tend to be the most popular and reliable ones, namely Samsung , LG , and Sony . Even Vizio has come to be considered one of the top-tier TV brands. However, other midtier brands are gaining people's confidence and becoming more popular, as well, including TCL and Panasonic.
Will there be TV deals on Prime Day?
TV deals are typically available on Prime Day, but you can't expect all of them to be from Amazon . Look for competitors like Walmart to offer up notable TV deals, as well. In both cases, discounts should be on well-known brands. Expect Amazon to have savings on Toshiba and Insignia Fire TVs, and for Walmart to offer discounts on brands like Vizio and LG.
Will there be TV deals on Cyber Monday?
You'll find TV deals on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, but the question is which day will offer the best TV deals. Usually, select offers carry over from Black Friday and go through Cyber Monday, but that won't always be the case.
What are the best TV deals for Black Friday?
These change every year, but we routinely see excellent Black Friday TV deals . They can include 55" sets for around $300 from brands like Samsung and LG, or 65" sets from the same brands for around $500. And we tend to see a 32" set go for around $80, if not less.
Are Black Friday TV deals worth it?
Not all Black Friday offers are worth it, but many of the TV deals are unbeatable. We lay out the best prices for the most popular size ranges of sets in our Black Friday previews .
What is the best month to buy a TV?
November is typically the best month to find a TV deal, as that's when Black Friday falls. However, it's not the only time you'll find a good price. We've covered the best times to find TV deals outside of Black Friday , and March is the winning month outside of November. There's a chance you could find a good TV deal around the Super Bowl, but those discounts don't usually live up to the great prices we see on Black Friday.
Is OLED or QLED better?
QLED is basically a marketing term devised by Samsung and stands for Quantum dot LED . QLED displays have an LCD panel and an LED backlight, with a nanoparticle filter in between. It's meant to produce more pure and saturated colors. The term applies mainly to Samsung sets, though you can also see it on TVs from brands that have partnered with Samsung, such as TCL.
OLED is a much more common term you'll see when shopping for TVs on sale. It stands for organic light-emitting diode, and these displays don't use LCD panels in their builds. Instead, OLED sets can adjust the luminosity of each individual pixel, providing viewers with pure blacks and an infinite contrast ratio.
There are other technologies that are important to know. Find out more information in our guide to the latest TV technologies .
What size TV should I buy?
It really depends on the size of your space and budget . Measure the space you've earmarked for your new TV and make sure that the model you're eyeing will fit, whether you're planning to mount it on the wall or not. If you aren't mounting on the wall, be sure to figure out the optimal size based on how far you'll be sitting from the screen. It's recommended that 4K TVs be put at a viewing distance that's as close as the diagonal measurement of the screen. So a 65" 4K set could be at an optimal viewing distance at 5 feet, 5 inches away.
What is the most reliable TV brand?
The most reliable brands tend to be those that are top sellers, as well. In this case, the best TV deals to look for if you're concerned with reliability are Samsung, LG, and Sony offers. Not all TVs are created equal, though, so once you choose a brand, be sure to research specific models.
William has been a part of the DealNews team since 2014. He started as a content writer, and has worn hats in a myriad of roles ever since - eventually becoming the head of the Travel team. In that role, he researches airfare, cruise, hotel, and vacation deals galore, and keeps tabs on industry trends. When he’s not sharing travel tips, William is the DealNews resident audio expert — often helping coworkers find the perfect set of headphones or speakers.