We have to admit that Target isn't the first store we think of when it comes time to buy a new TV, but one of its Black Friday deals sure got our attention: A 40-inch 1080p LED/LCD TV, from a brand called Element, for only $119. That's the lowest price we've seen so far for a set this size from any brand.
But how good a deal is it?
There are a few things to consider if you're thinking of getting this set. One is that it may be hard to actually get your hands on one, since Target is offering it as an online-only "doorbuster," in limited quantities, with no rain checks. It's unusual that it's being sold only online. Normally, retailers use low-priced doorbusters to lure customers into their stores, hoping they won't leave empty-handed even if the doorbuster sells out, as it's likely to, given that each location generally gets only a small number of the sale items. (Walmart is one of the few chains with some type of guarantee.)
We don't know how many of these TVs the chain has purchased, but you'll be competing with everyone across the country interested in it, not just those in your nearby area as you would with a store sale. So it's hard to say whether you'll have better luck than with typical doorbusters.
The other thing to consider, especially if this will be your main TV set, is whether you're going to be happy living with it for a number of years. Element is a secondary brand that we see mainly at mass merchants such as Target and Walmart. Target didn't provide the model number for this set, but its specs show it to be a fairly basic 60Hz 1080p LCD TV with a direct-LED backlight. It has three HDMI inputs, but not many other features. Right now, we only have a single Element TV in our Ratings—the 32-inch Element ELEFT326 ($190), and it didn't do especially well, with picture quality that, while good, was below that of most other sets that size.
That said, the TV might be fine if you're not an especially picky viewer, or if it's not going to be your primary TV in the main viewing room of your house. As far as the price, it's certainly a good deal, since it's priced less than many 8-inch tablets. Walmart is currently selling what looks like a similar model, the ELEFW408, for $298.
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While this Element TV stuck out for its very low price, it's not the only set that Target will have as part of its Black Friday sale. Other TV doorbusters, which kick off at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, include:
A 29-inch Element 1080p LED/LCD TV for $79
A 39-inch Vizio 60Hz 720p LED/LCD TV (model D390-B0) for $220. This set sells for about $350 now.
A 48-inch Westinghouse 60Hz 1080p LED/LCD (model DWM48F1G1) for $235 as a special online-only purchase. The TV sells for $480 now.
A 55-inch Westinghouse 60Hz 1080p LED/LCD, model DWM55F1G1 for $395. A similar model (DWM55F1Y2), with a 120Hz refresh rate, was a Best Buy exclusive back in September for $380.
Other TVs that will be available online and in stores over the Black Friday weekend include:
A 32-inch Samsung LED/LCD TV, model UN32EH4003, for $198 in stores and online. This TV is $250 at Walmart and Best Buy now.
A 40-inch Samsung 1080p LED/LCD TV—model UN40H5203, a smart TV, will be $328. It costs $480 at Best Buy, but P.C. Richard and Crutchfield have it for $400 now. Quantities are limited in stores.
A 50-inch Samsung 60Hz 1080p TV (model UN50EH5000FXZA) will be $478 online and in stores. This set is about $700 at several retailers, including Best Buy and Target.
A 60-inch 120Hz 1080p smart TV from Samsung, model UN60H6203, will be $798 in limited quantities in stores. This TV sells for $1,000 to $1,100 at several retailers
If you're in the market for some add-ons that can add more content to your new TV, Target will have a Google Chromecast media streamer for $25 (normally $35), and an Apple TV for $89, about $10 less than usual, though several retailers have this same deal. You can also pick up a Sony Blu-ray player, model BDPS3200, for $50; we're seeing this model for about $10 more right now at a few retailers.
If you're looking for a Black Friday deal on a TV this year, make sure you check out our Top 10 Black Friday shopping tips, and our coverage of other major retailers, including Best Buy, Sears, and Walmart. And check back for our roundup of the top Black Friday deals we've seen as we get closer to the holiday.
—James K. Willcox
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