Amazon and Sam's Club join Walmart in pre-Black Friday sales

Amazon's deals don't seem so special but the 60-inch Vizio Ultra HD TV for less than $1,000 at Sam's Club could be a UHD TV benchmark

Published: November 03, 2014 11:15 AM
TV buyers need to carefully sort through pre-Black Friday promotions to get a real deal.

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If you just can't bear to wait three more weeks until Black Friday actually arrives, check out the deals that some major retailers—including Amazon, Walmart, and Sam's Club—are offering before the actual event.

Among the best we've seen: a 60-inch Vizio P-series Ultra HD TV (P602UI) that Sam's Club will sell for $998, the lowest price we've seen for a UHD TV this size from a major brand. We won't be surprised if this set also turns up at Walmart at this price during its Black Friday promotions.

Amazon countdown

We already previewed some of the pre-Black Friday holiday deals being offered at Walmart. (Remember, its 24-hour cyber sale is going on today.) Like it did last year, Amazon is running a three-week-long "Countdown to Black Friday" sales event. Although it's a general sale that includes all types of merchandise, from jeans to jewelry, a large number of TVs are included. As part of the deal, though, you'll regularly have to check back to see what's being discounted. When we checked this morning we noticed these sets, but as you can see they aren't especially great deals.

  • A 40-inch Seiki 1080p LCD/LED TV (SE40FH03) for $290. We had a hard time finding this set elsewhere, although Home Depot (!) has it online for $400.
  • A 60-inch Sharp 120Hz 1080p LCD/LED smart TV (LC-60LE660) for $997. But it is pretty widely available elsewhere, including at Best Buy, for $1,000
  • A 55-inch Samsung Ultra HD smart TV (UN55HU6950) for $1,398. This set is available at several retailers for $1,400.
  • A 60-inch Sharp Aquos Quattron Plus (LC-60SQ15U; we tested the 70-inch version) 240Hz 1080p Smart LCD/LED TV for $1,298. Several retailers, including Best Buy and Crutchfield, have the TV for $1,300.

Find out the best places to shop for with our electronics store buying guide and Ratings. And check our Holiday Gift Ideas page.  

Best deal so far

If Amazon's pre-Black Friday TV prices seem a bit underwhelming, not so the Sam's Club deal on the 60-inch Vizio UHD TV. Last year, Vizio helped set the tone for TV sales during Black Friday when it offered a 60-inch 1080p TV (E601i) for just $688. But that was on a model in its entry-level E series. This year, the Sam's Club deal—part of a one-day "Holiday Savings Celebration" on Nov. 15 that kicks off at 7 a.m.—is on a flagship P-series UHD model (P602ui-B3). Based on a scan of the circular we saw on the Black Friday website BFAds.net, there will only be a limited number of these sets per store—between 5 and 11—and there won't be any rain checks. But unlike a lot of items, this TV will also be available online. This set normally sells for about $1,700 at several retailers, including Target and Walmart. Sam's Club says that prices will be the lowest of the season for the items selected.

In all, the Sam's Club one-day sale will include more than 100 discounted products. In addition to the Vizio, sale items include:

  • A 55-inch Hitachi LCD/LED TV (LE55G508) for $468
  • A 60-inch LG LCD/LED TV (60LB5200) for $648
  • A 49-inch Vizio smart LCD/LED TV (M492i)
  • A 16GB iPhone 6 for $99 with a two-year contract
  • $100 off the price of a 16GB iPad Air

There are also deals on HP notebook computers, Monster DNA headphones, and a Jawbone wearable.

As you can see, Black Friday-like promotions are already under way, but not every promoted item is an especially great buy. We'll be evaluating the deals we see to let you know which ones are really special. And of course we expect the action to get even more fast and furious the closer we get to Black Friday weekend, so keep checking back for our latest posts.

—James K. Willcox

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