For most of us, a new TV is a big purchase. So we want to get the best TV for our needs and not pay a dime more than we should.

Timing your purchase is one element in the equation. It’s not surprising that Black Friday remains a prime time for buying a TV at one of the lowest prices of the year. But our past research also shows that the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl provide another great opportunity for getting a big-time deal on a big-screen TV. So if you're in the market for a new set, this is a great time to start looking.

Before you head out, though, there are a few other things to consider—from whether it makes sense to buy a leftover set from the previous year to deciding whether to buy a 4K model.

Here’s how to find a set you’ll love, with all the features you’ll want, at the best price possible:

1. Buy a Leftover 2017 Model

You’ll save money and you won’t be missing out on any hot new features. That’s because 2018 sets aren’t likely to offer important technologies that weren’t already built into 2017 models, especially larger TVs from major brands.

The reason to buy a 2017 TV is, of course, the discounts. An analysis we did with the retail market research firm Gap Intelligence shows that after TVs are introduced early in the year, the prices tend to drop steadily as the months tick by before nose-diving in advance of Black Friday.

More on Televisions

After the holidays, prices tick up but then plunge again in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl (that’s Feb. 4 this year) as retailers try to make room for the next year’s models.

“Last year we saw a 55-inch Samsung TV—the UN55KU6300—selling as low as $699 in late January,” says Deirdre Kennedy, senior analyst at Gap Intelligence. “It had started out at $899 the previous spring.”

2. Go Big and Go Home

Getting the right size TV is an important element determining the best TV for your family. It used to require some math to figure out which size TV to buy for a particular room. With older high-definition sets, for instance, it was best to sit around 8 feet back from a 60-inch set to really enjoy the quality of the picture.

No longer. Today’s 4K TVs (also called Ultra High Definition, or UHD) have very fine picture detail. And you can go as big and sit as close as you like without the image beginning to look coarse, as it could in previous-generation 1080p sets.

But that doesn’t mean a bigger set is always better. If your sofa is too close to a huge set, it might be difficult to take in the whole picture at once, or the set might seem to overpower the room. Screen size is a matter of personal preference. It’s a good idea to go to a store, stand back from the TVs about as far as you’d sit at home, and see which screen size feels comfortable.

3. Embrace the World of 4K

These days it’s getting more difficult to find a larger-sized TV that’s not a 4K model. The benefit of 4K televisions is that they can show sharper, more detailed images than 1080p TVs—as long as you’re watching a 4K video, that is.

And that’s one problem with 4K: Cable TV providers aren’t transmitting shows at this resolution yet. Satellite TV companies do have some 4K content. But to take full advantage of your new set, you’ll need to turn to the many 4K shows available on streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix, and on 4K Blu-ray discs. (You’ll need a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player to watch these.)

The other thing to keep in mind is that 4K resolution is really a benefit only on big TVs. “As screens get smaller than 40 inches, it gets harder to appreciate the finer 4K picture detail,” says Consumer Reports TV program leader Claudio Ciacci.

That said, there is now such a small difference in price between 1080p and 4K sets that it makes sense to go for the 4K model because you’ll be ready for the day when more 4K content is available.

4. Be Wary of 'HDR' Labels

High dynamic range, or HDR, technology is now built into almost every larger 4K TV, especially from the major brands. For many of us, HDR is part of getting the best TV possible.

That’s because when it’s done right, HDR can deliver a greater range of brightness levels from black to peak white. You’ll see more detail in both the darker and near-white parts of the image. And the display will deliver more realistic lighting, including “specular highlights”—glints of light, such as the sun’s reflection off a car’s chrome bumper—that make images really pop off the screen.

“But our tests show that lots of sets that have some HDR capability fail to create the rich, lifelike images the technology is known for,” Ciacci cautions. “And there’s no way to judge this for yourself in the TV aisle of an electronics store.”

To get really good HDR performance, check the HDR score in our TV ratings, which are available to subscribers. The sets that deliver the goods on this technology tend to be more expensive, but if it fits your budget, the added cost is worthwhile. HDR can really enhance your TV-watching experience.

5. Don’t Sweat Smart-TV Choices

Most TVs being shipped these days are smart models, meaning they can connect to the internet to let you access streaming services such as Netflix.

Different TV brands use different smart-TV platforms. But we don’t think this should be a big part of a decision on which set to buy.

That’s the lesson from a recent CR survey of more than 1,000 smart-TV owners. Most respondents said they were highly satisfied with the streaming experience, regardless of their TV’s brand.

If you decide you don’t like the smart-TV platform in the set you purchase, you can always add a separate streaming device, such as a Roku stick or an Apple TV. These devices can cost as little as $30, though to get a model that handles 4K content you’ll need to pay around $70 or more.

Sixty percent of the respondents in our survey wound up adding a separate streaming device, though many liked the built-in functionality of their sets. Many told us they wanted better performance or a wider selection of streaming services to choose from.

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the February 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.