Please Read This Before Buying A 4K TV For Black Friday Or Any Sale Event
Stephan Jukic – November 23, 2018
There are plenty of genuinely good 4K TV deals available before, during and even for several days right after this year’s Black Friday sales event. Here on 4K.com we’ve curated the ones we think offer what are honestly strong discount prices for what we professionally consider to be authentically good televisions. Many of these are listed right at the bottom of this post. However, this curation and filtering doesn’t apply to every 4K TV discount out there and for many of the products you’re going to see being put on sale, either the discount prices aren’t quite as real as they’re made out to be or, worse still, the TVs being offered aren’t nearly as good as they’re hyped to be despite their lower prices. Then of course there are also technical issues that need to be considered in picking the right TV for your needs.
In order to clear some of the potential buyer’s traps around these issues and help you make sure that you spend every dollar of your UHD TV budget on something that you’re really going to appreciate for a long time, we’ve put together these key tips that you really need to know if you’re not entirely familiar with what to look for when buying your own 4K TV. Let’s get started.
Count connectivity ports
Most of today’s name brand 4K TVs from this year or any recent year come with highly standardized numbers and types of connectivity ports and those are more than enough for virtually any normal external device your connection needs you could throw at them. The usual pattern in the majority of these TVs consists of the following:
- 4 HDMI ports
- 3 USB ports
- 1 Digital Optical Audio Out port
- 1 Analog Audio Out 3.5 mm jack
- 1 Tuner (Cable/Ant) port
- 1 Ethernet connectivity port
These can vary slightly, with some TVs having only two USB ports or having three of them but with those being of the 2.0 type instead of the more powerful 3.0 kind. Other TVs might lack a tuner or an analog audio connection. Others (quite a few) lack a tuner. Another major issue might be the nature of the HDMI ports. The best-connected 4K TVs will have full 4K HDR pass-through capability in all four of theirs while some only offer the feature in a couple of their HDMI sockets. The bottom line here is that this is something you really should check before buying any specific TV, because if you do need that extra USB port or full 4K HDR pass-through in all four HDMI ports, not having them will be a bummer after you’ve already dragged your new TV home and unpacked it.
Go for HDR
HDR, or high dynamic range, still isn’t mastered into a majority of today’s digital content but it’s presence is constantly growing and you can be 100% sure that it will become nearly universal in most 4K video sources and console games sooner rather than later. We’ll even likely start seeing a lot of HDR formatting for ordinary HD broadcast TV programming in a couple years. For this reason and because HDR really does look damn good when displayed on a TV that’s capable of rendering it, you should really get yourself a TV that is indeed capable of rendering it.
Fortunately, most of today’s newer 4K TVs come with at least some type of HDR display capability, and this even applies to virtually all budget TV models since 2017. The feature will only become better and more common in all ultra HD TV models down the road, so might as well go for it right now. Premium and ultra-premium 4K HDR TVs offer superior high dynamic range via better peak brightness, stronger contrasting capability and much richer color performance but like we said, even cheaper models deliver these key aspects of HDR to some degree.
Check the refresh rate
Virtually all 4K TVs sold in North America will have either a native 120Hz refresh rate or a native 60Hz refresh rate built into their displays. Any other numbers you see are just hype for motion interpolation gimmicks that artificially “enhance” these native refresh rates. But even with these enhanced numbers, things only go so far, so for a 4K TV that claims to do motion enhancement at 240Hz, it’s actually offering a native 120Hz panel and for TVs that offer 120Hz enhancement, what you’re actually getting is 60Hz of refresh.
Now, TVs with both native 60Hz and 120Hz display refresh rates will perform perfectly well with most TV content but a TV wityh a native refresh of 120Hz will deliver notably superior motion handling and motion blur control for streamed, beamed, broadcast or hard disc content. The difference isn’t huge but it’s important if you’re a big fan of sportscasts and lots of action movies. If this is the case and you want that smooth motion to make these types of content really flow crisply, we’d definitely recommend a 120Hz 4K TV, though these tend to be more expensive.
Don’t worry about smart TV
Smart TV platforms are now found in pretty much all 4K TVs. This wasn’t strictly the case back in the olden days of 2014 when the earliest mainstream models were coming out but it’s now a standard thing. However, not all smart platforms are created equal and some brands, like Samsung, offer decidedly weaker smart functionality and content app access than others.
However, this isn’t in the least bit important simply because whatever your 4K TV’s smart platform, you can always buy an external streaming media stick or set-top box to be used over the native platform in the television itself. Today, a whole bunch of these exist and some like Those made by Roku, with the Roku TV platform inside them, come with their own absolutely excellent app/smart TV content layout to play with. They’re also fairly cheap, with the Amazon Fire 4K TV stick costing less than $50 bucks and a really good streaming media box like the Roku Ultra selling right now (for Black Friday only as far as we know) for only $49.99.
In other words, never let a 4K TV’s native smart functionality decide if you buy that TV. If the TV is great but has a crappy platform, get it, and if it’s a crappy TV with a great platform, forget it and buy yourself a better TV if it fits your budget, the smart functionality can be fixed up later.
Avoid anything that’s too cheap on price
There are some really good, really affordable 4K TVs out there and they can be incredibly cheap. In fact some of the excellent Black Friday deals at the bottom of this post cover several of these models at honestly fantastic prices. However, there is a bit of a limit to this and brand reputation has a role to play in it.
In basic terms, there are good TVs that happen to be cheaply priced and then there are TVs that are just cheap because they’re really cheaply made. Avoid these even if you think you’re saving lots of money because the dollars sheared off your purchase price will cost you plenty when the TV croaks on you in a few months or makes you suffer through picture quality so bad that even 4K resolution can’t save it.
A good basic rule to follow here (even if it seems a bit snotty) is to stick with name brand TVs from brands with a reputation for quality at a budget price. Our TV reviews on this site and our main TV ranking page provide some good guidelines on this. Another good rule is to not buy 4K TVs that cost less than $300. Almost all of these are either used or two old for more recent standards if they’re name brand models, or they just come from brands that don’t deliver reasonable performance nearly as well as they promise.
Watch out for used/refurbished 4K TVs
As a corollary of the tip right above this one, we also recommend that you watch out for seemingly amazing deals on 4K TVs that are in fact being sold that cheaply because they’re used models that have been refurbished. Now, this rule is one that needs a bit of quick qualification. If a given TV comes with a solid warranty of at least 1 year from the dealer itself, then it could still be a great deal even as a refurbished model. It is covered for problems after all. However, make sure this is the case before buying because without a warranty, a used 4K TV is a bad idea no matter how much of a discount you’re getting for it. A good example of reliable refurbished models would be the ones you often see being offered on Amazon and backed by the retail giant itself with a 1 year warranty. They’re often cheaper than their brand new versions and they’re also a fairly safe bet.
Now that you’ve gone through these crucial tips,, here are some of our curated and genuinely excellent Black Friday deals on major 4K TVs and electronics. All of the following offer high quality TVs and other electronics at prices that mean truly high value for your money.