Just in Time for Super Bowl LIV: HDTV Deals With Bonus Gift Cards Are Back at Dell
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Dell offer free gift cards on top of HDTV discounts… not since Black Friday, actually. Because Dell matches the lowest prices found at competitors before factoring in the gift card, this is usually the cheapest way to score a specific TV model. The promotional gift card can be used on almost everything at Dell (computers, monitors, electronics, consoles, video games, etc) and carries a 90-day expiration.
The new Vizio M-series Quantum TVs utilize the same “Quantum Dot” technology used in Samsung QLED TVs. Vizio tries to confuse us with three different tiers of “Quantum M” TVs. This particular model, Series 6, is the least expensive of the bunch and sprung up right around the 2019 holiday season. Today it’s actually cheaper than it was on Black Friday.
The Vizio Quantum Mxx8 is the highest end M-series TV. It is HDR capable and features a full-array backlight with 90 local dimming zones, wide color gamut, and 600nits of brightness.
The 2019 TCL 6-series might have the best image quality of any 55″ TV under $600. The biggest upgrade from the 2018 model is the Quantum LED (QLED) technology. In addition, this is a fully HDR capable TV thanks to its excellent wide color gamut and local dimming.
The 2019 TCL 5-series is just one step down from the 6-series, but you save quite a bit of money. These models boast a very fast response time and chroma 4:4:4 output at 1080p and 4K making it a great oversized PC monitor and good for gaming in general. They also feature wide color gamut which is important for improved HDR quality.
The TCL S421 is a refresh of the S405, which is one of the most popular and best rated entry level TVs among professional reviews and users alike. It’s a 4K TV with solid image quality and has Roku cooked right in. It’s available now for under $270 shipped.
This is the first time we’ve ever seen a massive 85″ XBR TV drop under $2K. In fact, it’s $300 cheaper than on Black Friday. The X850G is an excellent 2019 XBR TV that gets high marks from professional critics for its image quality.
The X950G model is Sony’s highest end LED LCD TVs for 2019. Unless you upgrade to OLED, there isn’t anything better from Sony. It is HDR capable and features a full-array backlight with local dimming and a fast 120Hz native refresh rate.
The X900F is a 2018 model but it is very, very similar in image quality to the 2019 X950G. Because it’s last year’s model, though, you’re saving $400-800 by going with an 2018 X900F instead of a 2019 X950G. If you are an image purist looking for a 65″ or 75″ TV, this is probably the best Black Friday deal so far, especially for the 75″ model.
The V-series TV is Vizio’s budget TV for 2019. Despite it being the least expensive of Vizio’s 2019 TVs, it still has features that you’d normally only find in more expensive TVs like the full-array LED backlight and SmartCast functionality.
The 6-series is one of TCL’s highest-end models. Note that this is the 2018 model that does not utilize QLEDs. It is one of the least expensive TVs out there that is HDR capable thanks to its full-array backlight with local dimming and wide color gamut.
This is the least expensive 70″ available and the same price as on Black Friday. The Smart TV interface is based on the clean and intuitive Roku platform (my favorite).
This is currently the least expensive 65″ TV we’ve found and $20 cheaper than on Black Friday. This TV also uses the stellar Roku interface for its Smart TV apps.
This small TV would fit perfectly in your dorm room, bedroom, cubby, or any place where a massive 75 incher wouldn’t fit. You still get the 4K resolution and Roku Smart TV integration.
1 Month Free Trial to Commercial Free CBS All-Access (Normally 1 Week)
Sign up for CBS All Access and watch the first episode of Jean-Luc’s return in Picard. In fact, with the free 1 month trial you’ll be able to watch half of season 1. This deal won’t last.
It’s also really simple to pull off. Create an account, select the No Commercials option, and at checkout, apply code “JANUARY”. Gain access to popular exclusive shows like Star Trek: Discovery and The Good Fight. Afterwards, you can renew for only $5.99/mo (or $9.99/mo for the ad-free option), or just cancel before your trial ends. The trial normally is for 7 days, and this 1 month extension usually only happens two to three times a year.
Binge The Mandalorian with Disney Plus Free Trial
Disney+ offers a 7-day free trial for you to decide whether or not you want to sign up for the service. The excellent Mandalorian Season 1 TV series is over. Considering the fact that it’s only comprised of eight 30-minute episodes, it’s super easy to run through it during the trial. The live action Aladdin just launched on D+, and The Lion King is coming later this month.
Afterwards you’ll be paying $6.99 per month (or better yet, get a $69.99 annual subscription). You can also sign up for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ all for $12.99 per month. The included Hulu subscription is with limited commercials but there is a way to get ad-free Hulu.
TV Buying Guide
Before spending money on a brand new TV, I’d suggest you take some time to answer these questions first. Your TV purchase could last you a long while, so you want to make sure you pick one that will satisfy you for years to come.
What Size TV Are You Looking For?
Get the biggest TV that your space can fit and that your budget allows. The #1 regret for TV buyers is wishing they had gone with a bigger size. Common TV sizes range from 32″ to 86″. Currently the sweet spot for value lies in the 50″ to 65″ TV size range.
What Is Your Budget?
TV price depends on many factors, including screen size, brand, features, and of course deal quality. The price can range from under $100 all the way to thousands of dollars. It’s important for you to set yourself a firm price ceiling or you could possibly spend far above what you expected. In my opinion, the vast majority of people should be easily able to find a TV they are happy with a budget of $700.
What Features Do You Need?
When you upgrade, what features would you benefit from? The obvious choices here are 4K, Smart functionality, and extra HDMI ports.
4K is actually not quite necessary at the moment; most content is unavailable in 4K and most 4K TV owners watch 1080p or 720p content. However, 4K is inevitably progressing in both video and gaming, and it may very well become the standard format within the next 2-4 years. If you want a TV that will last, it’s best to ride the 4K wave.
Smart functionality is also useful because your TV can be a hub for all of your streaming content such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video, and more without the need for an external device. You’ll save the expense of having to buy yet another TV accessory, installation hassles, and the loss of an HDMI port.
In terms of connectivity, you’ll want to figure out how many HDMI inputs you’ll need. If you have 3 gaming consoles, that will take up 3 ports right there. A soundbar may take up another port. So would a DVR, Chromecast, or Amazon Fire Stick. If you don’t have enough ports you could get an HDMI splitter, but that would add to the cost.
Fortunately, the features listed above do not add much to the cost of the TV. As you get to pricier TVs, the primarily difference is in picture quality. HDR (high dynamic range) capable TVs have higher contrast ratios and deeper blacks for a more realistic picture than can’t be emulated on a standard LED LCD TV. Multi-zone LED backlighting also improves on black levels by allowing LEDs to completely turn on and off independent of each other. OLED TVs have the highest contrast levels and deepest blacks, but you could easily pay 3x-4x the cost of a budget TV.
Do You Have Brand Loyalty?
Traditionally Samsung, LG, and Sony have stood at the top of the heap in terms of reputation. They have a proven track record of offering some of the highest quality TVs on the market. However, in recent years, other TV brands have been able to catch up to the point that I would call them equals. Vizio is one of the best selling brands and their M and P-series TVs are just as good as if not better than most of the TVs offered by the “big three”. Even more recent newcomer TCL has been combining great quality panels with Roku smart functionality in a very affordable package. In my opinion, the Roku interface is by far the best Smart interface compared to any other TV. Likewise, Toshiba and Element have partnered with Amazon to develop the only TVs on the market with Amazon Fire TV.
What Else to Consider?
Only you will really know what level of picture quality satisfies you. Check the TV out in person at your local store, decide what you are happy with, price compare (and check this page), and then make your purchase. For larger TVs, I would recommend buying from a store that has retail locations that allows online returns, or an online vendor that has an outstanding return policy. It can be very aggravating to return a TV to an online vendor that doesn’t have great customer service to begin with. For smaller TVs, breakage is less of an issue and I would just recommend you base your purchase on whatever reputable vendor has it the cheapest. Most TVs carry a 1-year warranty but if the price is right, extend it to 2-3 years. It’s easier dealing with a local entity that honors your extended warranty than with an overseas manufacturer.
Eric Song is IGN’s deal curator and spends roughly 1/4 of his income on stuff he posts.