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Sound and Vision: When is a Black Friday TV or audio deal too good to be true?

We’re approaching that time of the year when deals are in the air and you can’t look at a website without seeing an avalanche of posts telling about how you need a new robot vacuum cleaner or coffee machine in your life.

In the years since its birth, Black Friday has matured and become part of the retail fabric. Disappointingly, 2021 will be a far cry from the early editions when people would get up early, line up outside a store and swing punches at each other over a discounted Blaupunkt TV.

But back in those ‘good ole’ days it seemed as if it was easier to spot a great TV or audio deal. Maybe I’m looking back with rose tinted goggles, but prices for products seem to come down to silly levels, encouraging people to spend, spend, spend, but that’s not so much the case anymore.

Good deals are harder to find – great deals even rarer – with £50 lopped off the asking price considered by some stores to be enticing. A pricey TV might get a significant percentage drop and look good on screen, but will still cost a fortune.

And there are some sneaky tactics employed by retailers to suggest products have had a big drop but the difference is not the chasm they’re portraying. Regardless of whether it’s a small or big ticket item, the promoted price drop is never as big as it appears.

And that’s because the price drop is counted from the RRP. Unless you are early adopter, the RRP only really counts at the beginning of a product’s lifespan. Once the first few months of sale are out the way, a product is often nudging down in price over the course of the year. A TV might get what seems like a hefty discount of £600, but the price drop will be far less than if you looked at a TV just a week earlier.

But a discount is still a discount, right? And as long as you get what you want for a price you find agreeable then all is fair? However, in the ‘spirit’ of Black Friday that feels like a let-down – a sales event that used to be an extreme but now is like any other. The price drops on Amazon UK effectively repeat Prime Day; the deals almost likely to be recycled as if Amazon couldn’t shift the stock from previous events.

There are few surprises but mostly deals are a case of rinse and repeat. I’m not a betting person but I’d wager the Panasonic DP-UB150 4K player will hit £99 like it has for the last few years. But there are ways of informing yourself about the price history of products and that is what’s key about Black Friday more than anything else; being informed.

Whether it’s Keepa or CamelCamelCamel for Amazon, or PriceChase for Currys UK, there are ways of judging for yourself whether a Black Friday deal has reached your threshold of being a ‘good’ one. You can get a detailed breakdown of how these tools work in our how to spot a good Black Friday TV deal guide.

While the manic deals of Black Fridays of previous years have been consigned to the history books (or perhaps 404 errors), good deals that work for you can be found as long as you’re informed about a product’s price history.

So, Black Friday isn’t the red-hot ticket it used to be, but there are diamonds in the rough to be excavated. You’ll just need a big magnifying glass (or a price tracker) to find them. Thankfully, we’ll be here to help you do just that, so make sure to keep checking back with Trusted Reviews regularly over the coming weeks.

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