Top 10 Black Friday TV deals for 2014

By Lifestyle and Budget Consumer Reports

Finding the best deal on a TV can take a lot of time and effort. To help you find the right TV at the right price, we've spent the past few weeks scouring ads from Target and Walmart, Best Buy, Sears, and others. (Think of it as a small holiday gift from ConsumerReports.org.)

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We've never seen prices lower, with some incredible deals on both major and lesser-known brands. We've seen new low prices emerge in some screen sizes, such as 32-inch sets for well under $100 and 40-inch 1080p models that cost less than $120.

Before you head out to a store, check out our Top 10 Black Friday Shopping Tips for advice on how to get the best deals on a set you'll really want. And to help you narrow your TV choices, check out Consumer Reports' list of recommended TVs (available to subscribers).  

Here are our Top 10 TV deals during Black Friday. And as a special holiday bonus, we added a few other deals that seem just too good not to consider. If you're looking for other tech gifts, check our brand-new Gadget Gift Finder and watch our interactive video above.

Top 10 TV deals

1. 65-inch Vizio D650i-B2 (120Hz 1080p smart LED/LCD TV ($648)

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This set, available at this price at Walmart and possibly Sam's Club, has an unusual "D" designation in its serial number that we didn't see earlier in the year; "E" is Vizio's mainstream entry-level series. Comparing the specs, the only difference I could see is that the E-series model has four HDMI inputs, one more than this set. We tested the E650i-B2, and it had excellent high-definition picture quality and a lot of features, so we expect, but can't guarantee, that this set will perform similarly. Unlike many of the Back Friday TV specials, this model has a lot of features, including Vizio's smart TV platform.

2. 50-inch Panasonic and Toshiba 1080p LED/LCD TVs ($200)

Yes, we're voting these TVs to be a tie, mainly because the two sets seem comparable and are only $1 apart in price. Best Buy has the 50-inch Panasonic TC-50A400U for only $200. But Amazon, which has become more aggressive with TVs over the past few days, has countered with a 50-inch Toshiba 1080p LED/LCD set for $199. There's little info about this set right now, but we expect to hear more soon. Panasonic and Toshiba LCD TVs have done well in our Ratings, but neither brand has scored especially well in terms of sound.

Check our Holiday Gift Ideas page for suggestions of top-rated gifts and expert shopping advice. And find the best places to buy electronics.

3. 60-inch 120Hz 1080p Element LED/LCD TV ($498, Walmart)

This is a great price for a TV this size. We haven't tested this set so we can't comment on its picture quality, but other Element sets we've tested haven't done all that well in our Ratings. Still, it might be fine for less-discriminating viewers, or as a secondary big-screen TV in a den, bedroom, or kid's play room.

4. 40-inch Element 1080p LED/LCD TV ($119, Target and Amazon)

No specific models have been named, but we think it might be the Element LF401EM5. We don't expect it to be a top performer, but it's hard to believe you can buy a 40-inch TV for less than you'd pay for an 8-inch tablet. Walmart will have what looks like a similar set as part of its Friday sale for $115.

5. 60-inch LG 1080p plasma TV ($488, H.H. Gregg)

This is a great price for a TV this size from a major brand, plus it's one of the few remaining plasma TVs. The set, model 60PB5600, is a fairly basic model, but it's a plasma!

6. 50-inch Samsung 1080p LED/LCD TVs (under $500, Target and Walmart)

Target's deal is a 60Hz set (model UN50EH5000FXZA) selling for $478. For just $20 more, Walmart has a step-up 120Hz model with smart TV features—the UN50H5203 for $498. This may actually be a better deal for those looking for a smart TV. Samsung has been among the top brands in our TV Ratings, so we expect these sets to perform well. 

7. 55-inch Vizio smart LED/LCD TV ($478, Amazon)

No model name was given, but it could be the Vizio E550i-B2, which was selling for about $650. We tested this TV, which is in Vizio's entry-level E series, and it has excellent high-def picture quality and a good number of features, including a full-array LED backlight and Vizio's smart TV platform.

8. 60-inch LG and Sony 1080p LED/LCD TVs ($648, Walmart)

Both these sets are smart TVs. We don't know the LG model number, but the Sony is the KDL-60R510A, a 120Hz smart TV model. It normally sells for about $800, so it's not a huge savings but a nice price for a major-brand smart TV this size. We expect the LG to be similarly featured.

9. 65-inch Sharp Aquos 120Hz 1080p LED/LCD TV ($688, H.H. Gregg)

This set, model LC-65LE643U, comes with a Roku Stick for its smart TV feature. The set normally sells for about $1,100, so this is a nice savings.

10. 55-inch Samsung 4K Ultra HD TV ($899, Amazon and Best Buy)

This may be the best UHD TV deal for Black Friday. Amazon didn't list the model, but Best Buy will have the UN55HU6830FXZA, for $1 more at $900, as part of its doorbuster special. This is a 120Hz smart TV that usually sells for about $1,400.

Those are our Top TV deal picks for this Black Friday. But here are a few other deals just too good to leave out, in ascending screen size:

  • 48-inch Element 60Hz 1080p LED/LCD TV for $179 at Meijer
  • 48-inch Westinghouse 1080p LED/LCD (model DWM48F1G1) at Target for $235
  • 50-inch Sharp 1080p LED/LCD TV, model LC-50LB261U, for $400 at Best Buy
  • 55-inch Westinghouse 60Hz 1080p LED/LCD, model DWM55F1G1, for $395 at Target
  • 55-inch LG 55LB5900, a 1080p 120Hz priced at $480, at Best Buy
  • 55-inch curved 4K Ultra HD smart TV from Samsung for $1,278 at Sam's Club. H.H. Gregg has its for $1,298, plus you get a $50 store gift card.
  • 60-inch LG 1080p plasma TV for $488 at H.H. Gregg
  • 60-inch 120Hz 1080p LED/LCD from Sharp (LC-60LE644U), a smart TV, for $699 at Best Buy
  • LG 65-inch 1080p LED HDTV for $800 at Best Buy
  • 70-inch Sharp LC-70LE660U for $1,500 at Sears

As you can see, the TV deals this Black Friday are pretty aggressive. But remember that even if you're not able to take advantage of these specials, more deals kick off on Cyber Monday, which several retailers are turning into Cyber Week. And as always, keep checking back for all our latest updates on the best deals.

—James K. Willcox

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