Black Friday 2017 (Nov. 24) is still weeks away, but Consumer Reports is already thinking about the deals you’ll see during this annual shopping extravaganza. Televisions typically play a starring role in retail promotions, and this year that means that you should find great prices on 4K TVs in a variety of screen sizes.

How far will prices drop? You’re likely to see some 65-inch 4K sets with HDR from some lesser-known brands going for as little as $500. Continuing a trend we saw last year, more major brands—notably LG, Samsung, and Vizio—could show up in Black Friday 2017 promotions. 

Over the past few years the Black Friday sales have started earlier and extended past Cyber Monday (Nov. 27). 

But you can still expect some of the biggest and best TV deals to be reserved for the day of Black Friday itself. Just don’t show up early: Many stores have announced that they will be closed on Thanksgiving Day this year.

With all of that in mind, here are some early Black Friday 2017 strategy tips for TV shoppers:

1. Look for Deals on 4K TVs With HDR

Prices for 4K UHD TVs have been dropping, but you'll still typically pay $1,000 or more—and in many instances, a lot more—for a full-featured 65-inch set from a major brand.

That could make Black Friday 2017 a particularly appealing time to buy. Any 4K set you buy will probably include high dynamic range (HDR) technology, the hottest TV feature right now. 

You’ll also probably see some “derivative” models from major brands such as LG and Samsung. These are TVs with new-for-Black Friday model numbers, which can make shopping more confusing.

Those sets, like with HDR, will slug it out with sets from a number of secondary brands, many of which use the Roku TV platform, which now supports 4K HDR. You might also find a few Amazon Fire TV Edition 4K TVs with HDR, from brands such as Element, Seiki, and Westinghouse, advertised as Black Friday deals.

Be careful about comparing sets, though. Not all of these TVs can do a great job with HDR, mainly due to limitations in how bright the TV can get. Consumer Reports will track prominent deals being offered this year, and we do our best to provide information about how the TVs perform. Many of them may appear in our TV ratings.

It will be interesting to see what, if any, kind of price drops occur on higher-end models from LG, Samsung, and Sony.

Because 4K OLED TVs top our ratings, we’ll be tracking pricing on these sets, offered right now only by LG and Sony. Those sets are normally quite pricey. For instance, LG’s entry-level 65-inch B7-series set is selling for about $3,000 right now. Last year the company offered significant discounts on some of its OLED models.

If you’re willing to splurge on an OLED set, November could be your month.


Visit 
Consumer Reports' 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more. And be sure to check our Daily Gift Guide.
 

2. Shop With Your Smartphone

Another Black Friday trend this year could be the growing number of consumers using smartphones to shop. In its 2017 Holiday Season Predictions report, Salesforce says that mobile will account for 60 percent of all the traffic to retail sites this shopping season. And the company expects that 40 percent of purchases will be made on a mobile device during Black Friday.

One big benefit to mobile shopping is that you can use your smartphone inside a store to compare prices. You can check emailed offers and social media posts, and use special retail apps for last-minute deals.

And, of course, you can research products you might not have considered before coming into a store. 

3. Expect Similar, Low Prices Everywhere

As always, retailers will lure shoppers with doorbuster deals. This year, you might find more consistent pricing from store to store.

“The retail environment has already become much more competitive, and thanks to policies such as UPP [unilateral pricing policy, where retailers agree not to sell a TV for less than a specified price], there has been less difference between in-store and online pricing,” says Deirdre Kennedy, senior analyst at GAP Intelligence. “It used to be that prices were fixed in a print ad. Now, during peak promotional times such as Black Friday, both manufacturers and retailers monitor their competition and can make adjustments accordingly.”

The growth of price-matching is also playing a role in bringing special deals into alignment with each other.

Over the past few years, major retailers such as Best Buy, Target, and Walmart have promised to match both online and in-store prices that consumers find at other outlets.

None of those retailers would tell Consumer Reports whether they planned to expand those programs this holiday season, but the policies they’ve already posted online indicate that the trend is continuing:

• Best Buy promises to match the prices of seven online retailers, including Amazon.com.
• Target lists 27 online retailers, including Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, and Walmart.com.
• And Walmart itself matches the prices of a whopping 29 online competitors, including Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, and Target.com.

So should you still shop around? Yes. But this means you can do more of the work online—and spend less time driving from store to store.

There’s one wrinkle here, however. A few major TV brands try to get around price-matching by offering derivative models that are sold only by a single chain. The idea is that if no other chain is selling the same TV, the retailer can charge whatever it wants.