TV Deals Just-in-Time-for-Super Bowl: Real or Hype?

Consumers making a play for a new TV in advance of the Super Bowl will need to be as savvy as a quarterback. Commercials and newspaper ads touting big screens for the big game began even before the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers earned their way into the Feb. 3 matchup in New Orleans. The week before the Super Bowl is the third most popular for TV buying — behind Black Friday week and the week following Black Friday.

Yes, there are bargains to be had, but TV buying is a different game than during the annual Black Friday deal deluge. Some models may actually be priced higher than they were weeks or months ago.

“The ads are so prevalent and eye-catching it seems that everything is on sale. What was really surprising was that there are more products that actually increase in price” leading up to the Super Bowl, says Andrew Mahon, vice president of marketing for buying assistance site ShopAdvisor.

Using ShopAdvisor.com’s price watchlist functions, Mahon tracked 18 popular TVs from a variety of manufacturers, sizes 32 inches to 65 inches. The prices on five sets have dropped since December, but seven have gone up, he says.

“If you just want a big TV and you are not particular about the model, then you are going to get a good deal. If you are particular about the model, then you need to watch it on almost a daily basis,” Mahon says. “Some of the low-priced items will be aggressively discounted to get you into the store. And then that $1,800 model might sustain its high price or maybe even be bumped up a little.”

Consumers have been opting for bigger screens. In past years during the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, nearly 60% of TV spending was on big…

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