Should you wait until after Black Friday to buy an HDTV?

We all get caught up in the deals that are on offer for Black Friday, dissecting each ad and door buster, but is this weekend really the best time to make a purchase, especially when it comes to a big-ticket item like an HDTV?There are signs that even Black Friday sales like the $298 40-inch Westinghouse LCD at Target aren't going to make consumers go gaga over TVs.

We all get caught up in the deals that are on offer for Black Friday, dissecting each ad and door buster, but is this weekend really the best time to make a purchase, especially when it comes to a big-ticket item like an HDTV?

There are signs that even Black Friday sales like the $298 40-inch Westinghouse LCD at Target aren't going to make consumers go gaga over TVs. The majority of American households now possess at least one HDTV, which makes it less likely to be a top priority this shopping season. Instead, it appears that laptops remain popular and the iPad is this year's hot new product -- not 3D sets like TV manufacturers were hoping.

So you can guess what happens if TVs don't fly off the shelves this Black Friday weekend. As Paul Semenza, senior vice president of NPD Group's DisplaySearch, told CNNMoney.com:

Inventory pressures are building up throughout the supply chain. We'll start to see even more aggressive pricing in a second wave later in the holiday season.

While many people enjoy shopping at dawn the morning after a big Thanksgiving meal -- for reasons unfathomable to me -- you shouldn't feel like you'll be missing the absolute best deals if you don't buy on Black Friday. You may find more enticing prices online on Cyber Monday, or closer to Christmas as retailers get more desperate to unload sets that aren't moving. Of course, the best deals will probably come right after the holidays, but your family may not be thrilled its present is coming on December 29 instead of the 25th.

Buying an off-brand HDTV because of its rock-bottom price (the typical Walmart Black Friday door buster) isn't recommended anyway, since spending a little more (and maybe not even that much more if you wait long enough) could reward you with a superior viewing experience. In other words, paying $50 more for a Panasonic or Samsung plasma instead of an RCA one is worth the investment in terms of better picture quality. Researching the best set for your budget, then grabbing it once it reaches a price with which you're comfortable, is the right approach, no matter what time of year it is or how enticing prices on other TVs are.

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