Jonathan Takiff: TVs go on sale timed with Super Bowl

Vizio's 60-inch smart TV is on sale for $899.
Vizio's 60-inch smart TV is on sale for $899.
Posted: February 01, 2013

SOME OF THE biggest rush plays of Sunday's Super Bowl started last weekend. We're talking 'bout the "Big Game Deals" to "Make the Big Game Bigger" that discount chains are executing for big-screen TVs as a run-up to Super Bowl XLVII, airing at 6:30 p.m. on CBS.

These price cuts - some as dramatic as 37 percent - are among the best spotted since Black Friday. They've been enabled by heavy rebates from makers to sellers.

"Volume retailers order 'fighter models' of TVs months in advance of the big game to lure customers into stores and then upsell [them] to a higher model," said Richard Glikes, president of the West Chester-based Azione Unlimited buying group for specialty a/v dealers.

Bargains I've spotted include an LG 47-inch LED HDTV for $548 at Walmart and Vizio 60-inch LED HD smart TVs for $888-$899 at Walmart and Target.

HHGreg is pushing Sharp's 60-inch, LED-based LC-601LE600U for the identical $899 (half off the $1,699 suggested retail price). Insider tip: Sharp also makes the big-screen panels found in many Vizio models, though the processing behind the screens is brand-specific.

Best Buy is living large with Samsung, including a 55-inch LED-lit set "slashed" 35 percent to $899, and a 3-D-ready, 60-inch Samsung "smart" model cut 37 percent to $1,699.

Tips for buyers

With TV sets, bigger is always better. Calculate the width and height of your room's available space before shopping, then take the tape measure along. Thanks to the incredibly shrinking bezels (frames) in today's super-sleek sets, a 2013 55-inch-screen TV takes up the same space as an older 50-incher.

Study floor-model picture quality from as far off center as possible - especially important if a bulked-up audience will be huddling around your screen. The very best "off-axis" viewing (and often the lowest cost per picture inch) is found in plasma screens from Panasonic and Samsung.

Most viewers sitting 9, 10 or more feet from a TV are hard-pressed to discern a difference between a 1080p and a much-cheaper 720p screen.

But you will notice the improvement in game play clarity with a 120 Hz, 240 Hz or (with plasma) 600 Hz display versus a base LCD model that refreshes the image at a mere 60 Hz (60 cycles per second).

Sound advice

Don't forget to link the TV to a good stereo, sound bar with subwoofer or (best) a home theater surround-sound system. CBS's treatment of the big game and Beyonce halftime show will feature a very active, multichannel soundtrack pumping with you-are-there excitement.


Every Friday, Jonathan Takiff writes about technology, gadgets and the stuff that goes with them. Reach him at takiffj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5960. He blogs at philly.com/GizmoGuy.

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