After years of prices that were well out of reach of most consumers, ultra-high-resolution TVs have finally become more affordable, even though ultra-high-definition content that takes full advantage of the improved picture quality is still pretty sparse. Here are some of the deepest discounts available this Cyber Monday, if you’re looking to take the 4K plunge.
› Walmart.com features several noteworthy deals on a pair of UHD TVs, including a 40-inch Samsung for $598 (normally $900) and a 65-inch LG for $800 (normally $1,300).
› Dell.com is offering a 55-inch Samsung 4K Smart Ultra HD TV for $998 (normally $2,000).
› Target’s Cyber Week sale includes a a 48-inch Samsung 4K Smart Ultra HD set for $600 (normally $900) paired with a $100 gift card.
› At Amazon, you can pick up a “top-selling 48-inch 4K TV home theater bundle” for “less than $600.” No mention of brand or model number, though.
› BestBuy.com has deals on numerous 4K sets, including a 60-inch Samsung Smart TV for $1,200 (normally $1,800), a 55-inch LG set for $700 (normally $1,200) and a 65-inch Sony model for $1,800 (normally $2,600).
Video game systems
Two years after their debut — three for the Nintendo Wii U — the sheen of newness on the current generation of video game consoles has started to fade, but with that maturity has come the first permanent price reductions on the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. Today, prices will fall even further, thanks to these retailer-specific discounts and game bundles.
› Walmart.com is offering bundle deals on 500-gigabyte models of the Xbox One and PS4. Fans of Microsoft’s console get an an extra controller, a digital download of “Gears of War Ultimate Edition,” and early access to “Gears of War 4” for $300 (normally $411). Playstation loyalists will get an additional controller, a copy of “Star Wars Battlefront,” a download voucher for four classic Star Wars games and a Star Wars-themed head set from Turtle Beach for $400 (normally $480).
› Dell.com has a limited quantity of doorbuster of the Xbox One Gears of War bundle with a packed in copy of “Halo 5: The Guardians” and a BD&A Halo-themed dual-charging stand for $300 (normally $435).
› At Target, Cyber Monday shoppers can pick up the same Xbox One Gears of War bundle with an EA sports game (“Fifa,” “Madden,” etc.) and 3-month subscription to Xbox Live for $300 (normally $435). Save even more by applying the site-wide coupon code “CYBER15” at checkout.
› At BestBuy.com, shoppers get a free Sony Playstation TV system with the purchase of any Playstation 4 bundle (normally $80).
From styling over-the-ear cans designed to satisfy fashionistas and audiophiles to Bluetooth-equipped earbuds for wire-free tuneage during your morning jog, the personal audio market is booming these days.
› BestBuy.com is offering the Sony Gold wireless stereo headset for the Playstation 4 and Playstation 3 for $80 (normally $100).
› Target.com is offering Cyber Week savings of 50 percent off “select Sennheiser in-ear headphones.” This offer should stack on top of the 15 percent site-wide discount code CYBER15 that guests can enter at checkout.
According to the Pew Research Center, about half (45 percent) of Americans now own a tablet computer such as an Apple iPad, Microsoft Surface, Amazon Fire or Samsung Galaxy Tab. Whether you want a tablet to keep your kids entertained on road trips or for more comfortable Netflix viewing on the couch, Cyber Monday has you covered.
› Nab Microsoft’s last-generation Surface tablet — the well-reviewed Pro 3 — with 64 gigabytes of storage and an Intel Core i3 processor for $600 (normally $800) at Walmart.com.
› Continuing the deal it offered on Black Friday, Amazon is discounting its entire line of Kindle line, from $35 for the Fire 7-inch tablet (normally $50) to the flagship Paperwhite e-reader for $85 (normally $100).
› BestBuy.com is selling the 64-gigabyte model of Samsung’s latest Galaxy Tab S2 for $450 (normally $600). With two-year activation, shoppers can also pick up the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 with LTE modem for $150 (normally $350, unactivated).
Who wants a watch that only tells time or a bracelet that just sits there looking pretty instead of keeping track of your caloric burn? In the last couple of years, tech companies increasingly have woven improved function into “wearables,” a catch-all phrase for technologically savvy accessories. If you’ve been tempted by fitness trackers and sleep monitors or are merely curious what all the smart watch fuss is about, these Cyber Monday discounts make an appealing case for satisfying your curiosity.
› Dell.com is offering Microsoft’s Band 2 Activity Tracker at its normal retail price of $250 but with an additional $50 e-gift card to sweeten the pot (normally $300). For a more fitness-minded tracker, Dell is also offering the original Garmin Vivofit tracker for $30 (normally $80).
› If your timepiece is feeling too dumb to warrant the wrist real estate it’s getting, Amazon is offering a steep discount on Motorola’s well-received Moto 360 Smartwatch, which will be available for $104 (normally $250).
› For Apple fans interested in dipping their toes into smartwatch waters, eBay dealer ElectronicsValley will offer the 42-millimeter, stainless steel case variant of the Apple Watch sport for $500 (normally $600).
› Best Buy is offering up to $50 off Garmin activity trackers such as the Vivofit and Vivoactive (normally $80-$250).
With checkout lines that stretch to infinity and life-threatening stampedes for a limited supply of doorbuster deals, it takes an especially resilient breed of bargain hunter to brave the retail wilds on Black Friday.
For the rest of us, there's the comparative leisure of Black Friday's online shopping equivalent: Cyber Monday.
"I do most of my holiday shopping online," Signal Mountain resident Deanna Taylor Luna says. "Why fight the crowds if you don't have to?"
Retailers and websites offering special online-only discounts the Monday after Thanksgiving began in 2005. At a time when Pew Research Center reported that about half of American homes were still using a dial-up Internet connections, a study by Shop.org found that more than three-quarters of online stores reported substantially improved sales the Monday after Thanksgiving. Sensing the birth of a new shopping trend, retailers that holiday season began formulating special deals and Cyber Monday was born.
For the online sales bonanza's 10th anniversary today, digital marketing researcher Adobe Digital Index predicts American spending could top $3 billion. That's about 12 percent more than 2014 and about $300 million more than the total sales ADI predicts this year for Black Friday shopping.
"Although [Cyber Monday] isn't growing as fast, it still is the king of all shopping days online," says Tamara Gaffney, an analyst at Adobe Digital Index, in an interview with CNBC.
In keeping with the recent trend of extending traditionally single-day sales into sprawling, multiday shopping events — 10 in the case of this year's Black Friday spree on Amazon — Wal-Mart, Gamestop and Target have stretched Cyber Monday into "Cyber Weeks," with deals beginning Sunday and continuing through the weekend.
According to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation, nearly 80 percent of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers — more than 183 million — plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online today. A study by FatWallet.com predicts that consumer electronics and mobile devices will account for about half (48 percent) of all Cyber Monday purchases.
Most retailers keep the details of their Cyber Monday sales under wraps until just before they go live, but if you're in the market for a new piece of tech, here are some of the best deals that leaked out a bit early.
Contact Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.