If you want a new TV, now is typically the best time to bag a bargain. You'll need to act fast, though - it won't be long before cheap TVs from 2021 are replaced by expensive 2022 models.
The TV market is a tricky one, with several big players (particularly LG, Samsung and Sony) releasing scores of TVs with comparable features and a fair share of tantalising unique ones. Then there's price, size and complicated names to contend with.
By the end of this article, you'll have the tools to navigate the enormous selection of TVs. You'll be an expert, with the knowledge to buy the right set, at the right time, from the right place and at the right price.
If you're ever applying sunscreen, planning a picnic and also thinking of buying a TV, don't. Early summer is when manufacturers release new ranges and pull their old ones off sale. If you can, wait until Black Friday in November or, even better, early the following year when the cost of many TVs is cut in half - we're in this sweet spot right now.
Some TVs stick around after their successors have launched, but many don't. That window between New Year and early spring is small, and it won't be long before they've sold out.
As soon as a TV is on offer in one store, other stores usually respond and match the price. So why not buy from one that gives you a long warranty? TVs from Richer Sounds have a six-year warranty, while John Lewis offers five years.
Having such a long warranty is worth it. Two years is the longest we've seen from a manufacturer, and market leaders LG and Samsung offer only one year.
How much you spend on a TV depends on the features you want (more on that later on)as well as the size.
Our tests show that you can get a good 43-inch TV for around £400. For a Best Buy 48 to 50-incher, the average is £960, while the cheapest is £799. For 55-inch TVs, the average Best Buy costs more than £1,000, but you can get one for around £800, or, for a set scoring just under the Best Buy threshold of 71%, less than £500.
Unsurprisingly, 65-inch Best Buys are the most expensive: the cheapest is £1,199, while the average is £1,698. These prices are assuming you buy a TV at the right time, which as mentioned earlier is around February and March.
Barring the occasional budget supermarket model, any new TV you buy today will be 4K, support basic HDR formats to improve picture quality and have a streaming app store. But when you can spend upwards of £3,000 on one, you know that manufacturers are adding features by the truckload to justify the price.
There are other, harder-to-quantify factors, such as development and tuning, but a £1,500 TV will have more features than a £500 one. Do you really need them, though? Here's a rundown of the ones to look out for: