For those willing to shovel down their turkey and stuffing quickly and get over to Sears for its 6.p.m. Thanksgiving store opening, a number of "doorbuster" deals on TVs await. But once again not all the deals will be so special, based on our comparison of prices in the leaked Black Friday circular and the TVs' current prices.
Samsung and Sharp are major brands that feature prominently in Sear's Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and three-day holiday sales. These major-brand sets will be joined by some lesser-known labels, including RCA, Seiki, and Upstar.
After reviewing the leaked circular we saw on BlackFriday.com, here's our take on Sears' TV deals.
On Thursday, Sears has Samsung's UN55H6350 120Hz 1080p LED/LCD smart TV for $800. That's about $200 less than its current price. Its 60-inch UN60H7150 240Hz set, a 3D model, is priced at $1,300. That's down from about $1,700 currently, which is a nice savings. We tested this set—our full Ratings are available to subscribers—and it had excellent picture quality. The 39-inch UN39FH5000 1080p set will be $300, about $100 less than its price now. Although it's a carryover 2013 set, it was a top performer in this screen size in our Ratings. Another doorbuster is the 32-inch UN32EH4003, priced at $200. This is an older 2012 model that sells for just a bit more now. All but the 60-incher are available in limited quantities.
Also on tap are a 46-inch RCA 1080p set (LED46C45RQ) for $300, and a 32-inch Upstar, a newer brand we've seen mainly at Sears and its sister, Kmart, for $170. The RCA set can be found at Walmart at the price right now, though its $50 more expensive at Sears, and the Upstar is now about $20 more.
On Black Friday, there are more featured sets, from Samsung, Sharp, and RCA. Topping the price range is one of Samsung's curved Ultra HD TVs—the only UHD TV we've seen advertised by the chain. The 65-inch UN65HU7250, the company's entry-level curved UHD TV for 2014, is priced at $2,000. It's selling for about $500 more than that now.
Other Samsung sets include two 55-inch 1080p LCD/LED smart TV models: the 240Hz UN55H7150 for $1,000—about $600 less than its current price—and the UN55H6203, a 120Hz LCD/LED TV priced at $600. That's only about $100 less than we saw elsewhere, including Amazon.com. The UN55H7150's 60-inch sibling, mentioned above as a Thanksgiving doorbuster, is also available; its $1,300 sale price is about $400 under its current price.
For those looking for a 60-inch set, Sears will also have Sharp's LC60SQ15U, a 240Hz smart TV model, for $1,200. Again not a great deal, since it's available for about $100 more at some other retailers right now.
All these sets, except for the Samsung UHD TV, will be available in limited quantities, with no rain checks. The UHD set will be available in stores and online.
If you plan to hit Sears at some point between Thanksgiving and Saturday evening, the retailer has a wider choice among Sharp sets, including 60- and 70-inch models in the LE660U series. The 70LE660U will be priced at $1,500—it's now $1,700—and the 60-incher will be $900, down from its current $1,000 price. Both are 120Hz smart TVs. There's also another 60-inch 1080p LCD/LED set, the 60EQ10U, a 240Hz smart TV priced at $1,000. It's $1,200 right now. We tested this model and it did well, earning a CR Best Buy designation.
There will also be two RCA smart LCD/LED TV sets, a 55-inch 1080p model (SLD55A55RQ) for $650, and a 32-inch 720p TV (SLD32A30RQ) for $250. The smaller set is now $270, but the larger model is selling for that price right now.
Also in the mix is a 48-inch 1080p Seiki model (SE48FY25) for $350; the set is now $400 at Sears and $410 at Kmart. It's not widely available elsewhere.
While it's still too early to see how Sears' Black Friday TV prices will stack up against its competitors', our feeling is that there are a few very special deals, and others that aren't so great. Our top deal picks are Sears are both Samsung H7150-series sets, in 55- and 60-inch screen sizes. These sets can deliver excellent picture quality, plus a nice amount of features, and the $400 to $600 price cuts make them worth considering.
If you're looking for a TV this holiday shopping season, keep checking back for all our latest posts on Black Friday deals and our evaluations of the best bargains we see. Also, check out our top Black Friday shopping tips to help get the best deals of the year.
—James K. Willcox