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Clark Howard: HDTV prices are set to drop

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Over the next few weeks, you’re going to see some great deals on HDTVs. The reason? No, it’s not the lead-up to Super Bowl XLIX. It’s because the next generation of 4K TVs are getting ready to dominate the retail space.

I’ve seen the onslaught of 4K TVs at CES 2015 (the International Consumer Electronics Show) and it’s truly amazing. These TVs offer four times the resolution of your current HDTV.

The retailers and manufacturers know there’s a sea change happening too. So anybody with traditional flat-screen HDTVs in the pipeline is going to be heavily discounting them before they become yesterday’s news.

I’ve been watching prices on traditional HDTVs and we’re back to Black Friday prices in January. Those prices will go down over the next six weeks so retailers and makers don’t get caught with too much inventory on their hands.

And the bigger the screen, the bigger the deal, because big screens will be among the first to transition to 4K.
On the question of 4K TV programming, the reality is, there’s not a lot of it yet. Some movies are in 4K and both Netflix and Amazon Prime send out some programming in 4K already. But it will come sooner rather than later.

If you do buy a 4K TV this year, buy an off brand. Do not buy a high-end set. Because in two years, that TV will probably take a less-prominent place in your home as the technology improves. At CES, I’m seeing some “white label” TVs (Chinese no-name brands) for $500 with fantastic picture quality.

If you want to hold out with your current HDTV, I recommend you wait until 2017 to go all-in on 4K TVs. That’s when the early adopters will have helped work out all the kinks.

Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website

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