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4 Dec 2020

When's the cheapest time of year to buy a TV?

Black Friday is over and the post-Christmas sales haven't yet begun - but could December still be a good time to get a new TV?

Which? research has revealed the cheapest month of the year to buy a new television. Will you score a bargain by buying in December?

Hundreds of new TV models are released every year, and we've tracked their pricing so we can tell you when they are cheapest.

Read on to find out the best time to buy and how much you need to spend.

Cheapest month of the year to buy a TV

If you've been considering treating yourself to a new television to enjoy this year's Christmas programmes on, you're in luck.

We monitored the cost of 1,156 TVs across different retailers throughout 2019 and found that the cheapest time of year to buy a TV isn't November - despite it being the month of Black Friday - or even January, with its post-Christmas sales: it's actually December.

Average TV prices in 2019

Spring, on the other hand, is when the new models get released and it's the worst time to buy one of those.This isn't exactly a surprise - with almost any tech you'll pay over the odds to get it on release - but it's an especially bad idea with TVs, as they can drop by hundreds of pounds just a month or two after launch.

High-end TVs are particularly prone to this hefty decrease. The LG OLED55CX6LA was £1,799 at launch in May, but two months later it was around £1,500.

However, if you're happy to buy an older model, Spring isn't a bad time to buy as prices will drop when new models hit the market.

Why you shouldn't buy in August

When it comes to average prices, August is actually the priciest time of year to buy - but why?

Most new TVs have launched by August and the previous year's TVs will have almost all gone off sale, meaning the older models are no longer there to drag the average price down.

As you can see in the chart above, there's little fluctuation with TV pricing: after August, they simply get steadily cheaper until they are replaced the following year.

So, while there were some decent Black Friday TV deals, there's no need to panic if you missed them: prices are only likely to go down between now and the new year.

Should you wait for the new models?

You've held on till December to buy a new TV, but in just a few months there'll be a whole new selection to choose from - so should you wait just a little longer?

As outlined above, you'll pay a lot more for a brand-new model. And while it may havenew features, they're highly unlikely to be game changing.

As new devices are released every year, improvements are usually incremental. And bigger changes are usually introduced long before you should really buy them.

Take 8K TVs, for example: we got the first consumer models in 2019 and several more in 2020. Sure, it's a major upgrade, but there's no 8K content to watch and we really don't think you should buy one yet.

Other things to consider when buying a TV

Screen size: this is probably the most important thing to nail down before you start shopping. Buy a TV too big and you won't be able to see to take it all in when you're sat in front of it, but too small and you'll be straining to pick out detail and read words on the screen.

Use our TV size tool to determine exactly what size you need.

Screen type: LCD, Nanocell, LED, QLED, OLED - there are plenty of different screen types to choose between, but don't assume that one will be better than any other.

OLEDs tend to have better contrast than LCD models, but contrast isn't everything. We've tested LCD TVs that beat OLEDs and QLEDs, so don't dismiss any screen type on your quest for the best TV.

Resolution: this is an easy one - only buy 4K. 8K models are too expensive and there's no 8K content to watch, while the few HD models remaining on the market don't do well in our tests. We find that 4K models do a better job displaying HD shows and films, anyway.

Brand: there are four main brands - LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony - and we recommend you stick with them. Store brands, such as JVC in Currys and Bush in Argos, always do badly in our tests. While they may be cheaper than the main brands, they've never bested them.