As with last year, not all of the deals will require you to make the trek to your local brick and mortar retailer. There are a number of online deals to be had, as well, but the information on those is a bit harder to come by prior to the big day. If you want to save yourself some stress, however, you might be better off to take your chances with the online deals as retailers are making a much stronger play for your dollars this holiday season with their Internet sales offerings for Black Friday.
LCD TVs will be hot offerings again this holiday season, with limited numbers of some solid sets being offered. Wal-Mart is offering the Samsung 46” LN46C600120Hz 1080P LCD for $798, which ranks as one of our favorite LCD offerings. We suggest that you steer clear of the 60Hz offerings; while they are priced better, over the long haul it just isn’t worth it. If you are willing to deal with the 60Hz refresh rate, the LG 32” 32LD400 1080p at Best Buy for $379.99 is a solid set for the money. If you want something bigger, the 50” Panasonic Plasma 1080p for $699.99 at Best Buy is an excellent value, if have a room for it that isn’t too bright and you don’t mind going with Plasma rather than LCD.
Blu-ray players will again be abundant with prices dropping way below the $100 level on a number of players. Be aware, however, that not all of them support the latest Blu-ray standards and offer BD-Live support. We like the Toshiba BDX1100 for $59.99 at Best Buy, as well as the Sony BDP-S270 for $94 at Wal-Mart. The VIZIO VBR210 is also worth a look at Office Max for $139.99 if you want a player with built-in wireless Internet support.
As for the video game consoles things are much tougher this year, with retailers offering their own bundles all at pretty much the same price. If you are on the hunt for a PlayStation 3, we feel that the $299 PlayStation 3 bundle that Best Buy is offering for $299.99 is about as good as it gets with the 160GB hard drive LittleBigPlanet, ModNation Racers and the Cars Blu-ray movie. GameStop and Wal-Mart are offering their own bundles at the same price, as well, but we felt the Best Buy bundle offered the best bundle value.
The offerings for the Xbox 360 this year are a bit crowded, as retailers are offering no less than four options because of the addition of the Kinect with console bundles. If you want Kinect, then these Xbox 360 console bundles with Kinect represent the best value for the money. If you are after just the console, then the Xbox 360 4GB bundle at Best Buy that includes LEGO Star Wars the complete saga, LEGO Batman the video game, and LEGO Indiana Jones for $199.99. If you just want to jump into Call of Duty: Black Ops you can get the Xbox 360 4GB console with Black Ops for $199.99 at Kmart. If savings is your thing and you don’t mind it coming on a gift card, the Xbox 360 250GB offering at Toys R Us is the ticket at $299.99, but you will get a $50 gift card with purchase.
For Nintendo fans we actually can’t offer much this year on the hardware front. The focus for hardware is clearly on the DSi. Prices range from $129 to $149, depending on which color and bundle you go with. Our suggestion is to buy the hardware bundles at the best price under $149 that you can find and forget the color. The $149 bundles will be highlighted everywhere, however. Wal-Mart has the best deal on the Wii, with the Limited Edition Red Wii Bundle being sold for $249 and we expect those to go quickly.
As for Kinect for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 Move, our sources tell us that most big box retailers have ample numbers to sell on Black Friday with or without a console bundle. Other than Kmart offering a $25 gaming coupon with the purchase of the Xbox 360 4GB Kinect bundle or a $15 gaming coupon with the purchase of the Kinect add-on kit, there are really no Black Friday deals to be had. Sources whisper to us that if inventory levels on Kinect and Move are still high close to Christmas, then you might see a deal; but not till then.
Look for us to give you our Black Friday picks for software and accessories tomorrow.