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Black Friday 2018 TV deals: Price predictions for the year's best TVs

Commentary: Eyeing that sweet OLED TV? Waiting for the very best price on your favorite Sony, Samsung, Vizio or TCL Roku TV? Here's how much we think you can save by waiting a month or so.

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LG's superb OLED TVs, and every other good TV, could get discounts this Black Friday.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Get ready for some sweet bargains on TVs. No, I'm not talking about no-name 32-inch junkers for $99 that require 5 a.m. fisticuffs at Wal-Mart.

I'm talking about TVs that are actually good. On sale for the best prices of the year.

No matter how much you're looking to spend on a new TV -- and whether you prefer going to a store or shop in your jammies as you digest that last helping of turducken -- Black Friday is the time to buy. By that I mean the general Black Friday and holiday timeframe, starting a week or so before Nov. 23, 2018 and lasting into December. That's when nearly all TVs go on sale, everything from bottom-feeding doorbusters to the best TVs we've ever tested.

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Since Black Friday happens every year, like iPhone events, holiday airport delays and the Puppy Bowl, we have a decent idea of which TVs will actually get deep discounts. Here's my best guess on the November pricing of my favorite 2018 TVs, based on last year's sale prices of their predecessors.

CNET's estimated Black Friday 2018 TV prices

TV Size (inches) CNET Rating Current price Black Friday estimate Savings
LG OLED65B8P 65 8.7 $2,600 $2,100 $500
LG OLED55B8P 55 8.7 $1,800 $1,500 $300
TCL 65R617* 65 8.6 $1,000 $900 $100
TCL 55R617 55 8.6 $650 $600 $50
LG OLED65C8P 65 8.6 $2,800 $2,500 $300
LG OLED55C8P 55 8.6 $2,000 $1,700 $300
Vizio PQ-65F1* 65 8.3 $2,100 $1,400 $600
Vizio M70-F3 70 8.3 $1,600 $1,450 $150
Vizio M65-F0 65 8.3 $900 $850 $50
Vizio M55-F0 55 8.3 $700 $650 $50
Samsung QN75Q8F 75 8.1 $3,500 $3,000 $500
Samsung QN65Q8F 65 8.1 $2,300 $1,800 $500
Samsung QN55Q8F 55 8.1 $1,800 $1,500 $300
Vizio P75-F1 75 8.1 $2,000 $1,600 $400
Vizio P65-F1 65 8.1 $1,100 $1,000 $100
Vizio P55-F1 55 8.1 $800 $750 $50
Sony XBR-75X900F 75 8 $3,000 $2,400 $600
Sony XBR-65X900F 65 8 $1,800 $1,400 $400
Sony XBR-55X900F 55 8 $1,300 $1,000 $300
Vizio E75-F1 75 7.5 $1,400 $1,250 $150
Vizio E70-F3 70 7.5 $900 $800 $100
Vizio E65-F0 (or F1) 65 7.5 $730 $650 $80
Vizio E55-F1 55 7.5 $500 $450 $50
TCL 55S405* 55 7.1 $380 $350 $30
TCL 43S405* 43 7.1 $280 $250 $30
TCL 40S305* 40 7 $220 $200 $20
TCL 32S305* 32 7 $150 $130 $20

*this is an official sale price not an estimate; see below.

Caveats and methods to my madness

Here's where I remind you that the above prices are my best guesses. I have no confirmation of any of them, and no manufacturer (except TCL, see below) has told me anything yet. I will update this piece if that should change. 

Some of the TVs above might not go on sale at all, and some TVs not listed above might be even better bargains. 

But here's the thing: I would not spend my own money on a TV before mid-November, and I don't think you should, either. To that end, I've created this list to show exactly how much money you could save by waiting just a few days.

Here's how I got to these predictions/estimates/guesses.

  • The table lists most of the sizes in all of the series of CNET's best TVs for 2018 list, arranged in descending order of overall rating. Pricing is current as of Oct. 25, 2018.
  • I arrived at the price guesses by looking at historical pricing data, namely the prices of the 2017 TVs that were the predecessors to the 2018 models listed on the table. I compared the prices around a year ago today (Oct. 25, 2017) to the Black Friday 2017 sale prices and applied the percentage decrease then to estimate how far the 2018 model might fall.
  • For example, the 65-inch LG OLED65B7A went from $2,800 on Oct 25, 2017 to $2,300 for its Black Friday 2017 sale. That's roughly an 18 percent discount. The 2018 equivalent, our Editors' Choice LG OLED65B8P, costs $2,600 today. An 18 percent discount is roughly $2,100 (I rounded prices to the nearest $100, $50 or $10 figure that makes sense to me).
  • Don't be surprised to see more-aggressive discounts on some models that TV makers really want to target. For example, if LG wants to sell a ton of OLED TVs, it chops that extra $100 off and prices the 65-inch OLED B8P at $1,999 and the 55-inch at $1,399.
  • The Samsung Q8 series has no direct predecessor, but pricing on the 2017 Samsung Q7 tracks it quite closely, so I used the 2017 Q7 as the 2018 Q8's indicator.
  • For almost all of the TCL TVs, those marked with an asterisk, a company representative told me the "expected" Black Friday price, so I listed that.
  • Update: The Vizio P-Series Quantum, model PQ65-F1, also marked with an asterisk, will go on sale at Costco for $1,399 starting November 16th through November 26.
  • My source for historical pricing data was Amazon via camelcamelcamel.com for most of the TVs. The exceptions are (non-Quantum) Vizio models, most of which aren't sold at Amazon. For those sets I used the handful of sale prices archived here and extrapolated them to apply to the closest matches of the 2018 models.

Black Friday 2018 is sure to have plenty of surprises, and I'm curious to see how these predictions turn out. We'll know soon enough.

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