Black Friday to Bring Out High-Def, Online Bargains15 Nov, 2007 By: John Latchem
With Black Friday deals on high-def TVs and players, consumers looking to get a jumpstart on the looming digital transition scheduled for February 2009 will have a golden opportunity this year.
“This is the best time for any consumer to transition from standard to high definition,” said Dan de Grandpre, founder and editor in chief of Dealnews.com, a Web site that tracks retail discounts. “HDTVs are being offered at 50% off from just a few weeks ago. So many HDTVs are at less than $1,000. That has never happened before.”
For example, Best Buy will have a Hewlett-Packard 42-inch LCD HDTV for $996.99 (a savings of $503); a Philips 1080p upconverting DVD player for $49.99; a Toshiba HD-A3 player with seven free HD DVD movies for $199.99; a Samsung BD-P1400 Blu-ray Disc player for $399.99, with seven free Blu-ray movies; and a Sony BDP-S300 Blu-ray player for $499.99, with a $100 gift card and a free copy of the Spider-Man 3 Blu-ray Disc.
Among other bargains, Circuit City will have a Samsung 50-inch slim DLP HDTV for $799.99, while Target will have a 37-inch Olevia 1080i LCD HDTV for $549, and Wal-Mart will reportedly offer a Sanyo 37-inch LCD HDTV for $847 and a Magnavox 1080p upconvert DVD player for $30.
While the day after Thanksgiving may be the traditional beginning of the holiday shopping frenzy, this year retailers have been enticing consumers with great discounts even earlier. In the wake of weak October retail gains reported by most retailers, many of the chains hoped to get a jump on Black Friday with several bargains throughout November.
“Retailers are concerned about how consumers will react to the economy,” de Grandpre said. “Consumers are worried about the value of their homes. It creates a lack of sales of non-essential goods. That's why we're seeing Black Friday-quality deals much earlier.”
Wal-Mart offered a “secret” sale Nov. 2, with goodies such as Toshiba's HD-A2 HD DVD player for $98.87 (down from a $229.28 online listing) and a Sanyo 50-inch plasma HDTV for $998 (from $1,294). The result? Long lines and both items selling out within minutes at most locations.
Best Buy also offered the HD-A2 for $99, and the HD-A3 for $199. Customers holding backorder notices for the HD-A2 were upgraded to the HD-A3, which carries a list price of $299, translating to a $200 savings.
The pricing competition has led many retailers to the Internet to offer their bargains. In addition to pre-Thanksgiving deals, many chains offer online-only bargains on Thanksgiving Day, just for those who can't wait until Cyber Monday.
“A lot can happen now before Friday,” de Grandpre said. “Online has really changed things. Last year, people bought so much stuff online that a lot of stores ran out of them before Black Friday.”
When inventory is available, many retailers offer the same Black Friday discounts online that they do in stores.
“It's such a busy day, consumers should check online first,” de Grandpre said.
Wal-Mart looks to be focusing more on HDTV discounts on Black Friday, de Grandpre said, but details of the retail behemoth's upcoming deals have been sketchy at best. Continuing to operate in stealth mode, Wal-Mart threatened legal action against any Web sites that posted the chain's Black Friday ads prior to the official Nov. 19 announce date.
In taking steps to protect what it considers its “commercially valuable intellectual property,” Wal-Mart became the first major retailer to move against the long-standing practice of specialty Web sites such as blackfday.com posting scans of leaked Black Friday circular ads, sometimes weeks in advance of the actual sale. The site blackfriday.gottadeal.com simply posted a countdown clock to when the information would become available.
Even with the lock-down, rumors of Wal-Mart bargains still managed to find their way to the Internet. CNNMoney.com reported such deals as assorted DVDs for $2.96 each and movies on HD DVD for $14.96 each; special 5-11 a.m. doorbuster deals include a Philips 50-inch plasma HDTV for $1397. The financial site also indicated Wal-Mart would offer a slew of secret in-store specials on Thanksgiving Day. Other rumors swirling the Web included more HDTV deals, plus a DVD recorder for $145, recent DVD releases at $6 and new releases at $10 apiece.
Deals include catalog DVDs from $3.98 to $5.98 each; recent hits such as Knocked Up, Casino Royale and Blades of Glory for $9.98 each; new releases, including Shrek the Third, Ratatouille, Hairspray and Live Free or Die Hard, for $15 each; and $14.98 TV DVDs, including select seasons of “24,” “Family Guy,” “Seinfeld,” “House” and “South Park,” among others.
Target also will have a 10-inch portable DVD player for $84 and a 12-inch kitchen LCD HDTV with a DVD player for $199, both from Audiovox; a compact Philips DVD player for $25; a PlayStation Portable core system with five UMD movies for $169.99; and a $60 target gift card with purchase of both a Halo 3 Xbox 360 console for $399.99 and the Halo 3 game for $59.99.
Best Buy also is pointing consumers to its Web site, BestBuy.com, to check out all Friday-only specials and research all doorbuster deals.
Doorbuster deals include such DVDs as King Kong and A Few Good Men for $2.49 (with a limit of three per customer); Knocked Up and 300 for $6.99 (also a limit of three); and a Best Buy exclusive two-disc Justin Timberlake DVD for $16.99. Doorbuster HDTV deals include a Panasonic 42-inch 720p flat-panel plasma screen TV for $899.99 and a Dynex 32-inch LCD model for $449.99.
Best Buy also will have a selection of TV DVD seasons for $14.99 each (with a limit of eight), including “House,” “Family Guy,” “Smallville,” “South Park” and “The O.C.”
Other deals include 50% off all HBO seasons; a selection of 50 DVD titles at $4.99 each; a Samsung 1080p upconvert player for $74.99; and discounts on portable DVD players.
Among HDTV deals are a Samsung 50-inch plasma 720p HDTV with Geek Squad home theater installation for $1399.99; a Westinghouse 1080p LCD TV for $1299.99; plus 20% off Sanus TV mounts.
Best Buy also offers deals on purchases of HDTVs $999 and up: Save $100 with purchase of any Blu-ray or HD DVD player; save $100 with Geek Squad installation; save $100 with a sound system of $499 or more; and save $300 with addition of DirectTV HD.
Gamers can pick from select Xbox 360 games for $19.99 each; and a 40GB PlayStation 3 with Blu-ray Discs of Spider-Man 3 and Open Season and the NBA '08 game for $399.99.
Also available a Toshiba Intel Centrino laptop with HD DVD player for $799.99, or as part of a bundle with antivirus protection, headphones and four HD DVD movies for $899.99
Among DVD bargains: for $2.99, Cinderella Man, The Interpreter, The Cat in the Hat and others; for $8.99, recent hits such as 300, Knocked Up, Casino Royale; other DVDs from $3.99 to $5.99 each, with a limit of three per person. TV DVD boxed sets will range from $12.99 to $18.99, including seasons one and two of “House” for $12.99 each, seasons one and two of “Seinfeld” for $14.99 each, From the Earth to the Moon for $14.99, and “James Bond Ultimate Collection” five-movie boxed sets for $18.99. Players include a Philips DVD player for $29.99; a Toshiba 1080p HD upconvert DVD recorder for $99.99 ($55 off); a Samsung Blu-ray Player for $377.99 ($122 off); and a Sony Blu-ray player for $399.99 ($100 off).
For gamers: a free wireless controller and two free games with the purchase of an Xbox 360 Pro for $349.99; a free $199.99 wireless controller with $399.99 40GB PS3; a free controller with a $129.99 PS2; a selection of games for $4.99 to $9.99; and a selection of games that comes with a free $10 gift card.
The TV selection includes thousands of dollars off LCD HDTVs, including a Sharp Aquos 1080p 52-inch screen for $2199.99.
Circuit City offers $200 savings on Firedog installations and up to 50% off TV mounts.