November 25, 2009 by  

Black Friday may come only once a year, but that day of seemingly extra-low prices is getting longer and longer. Samsung, Amazon, Costco, and others are now offering lower-than-usual prices for several days surrounding Thanksgiving.

In the case of Samsung, this week’s special deals, depending on the state in which you live, may not be so special after all.

Samsung will sell five slightly-stripped down models of LCD and plasma TVs for a week, from Sunday, Nov. 22nd, through Monday, Nov. 30th.

Unlike its usual sets, these TVs will feature a slightly different design, lower contrast ratios and two, rather than three, HDMI inputs.

For example, the LN46B500, a 1080p LCD, will sell for $850 at stores like Best Buy and P.C. Richard; its standard model, the LN46B530, can be found for $929 at Amazon. Its 1080p LN40B500 LCD, with 40,000:1 contrast ratio, will have a street price of $600. The comparable LN40B530, with 60,000:1 contrast ratio, is $714 at Amazon.

Its 50-inch 720p plasma, PN50B400, will sell for $700, compared to the PN50B450, which is $783 at Amazon.

If you live anywhere in the U.S. except the states of Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, or Washington, these “amazing” prices as Samsung puts it, are not so amazing. Add in a typical 9 percent sales tax (in Los Angeles, sales tax is 9.25 percent) and you’re paying the same or just a few dollars less than the regular models.

For example, the real price of the LN46B500 with a 9 percent tax is $926. For most shoppers who buy on Amazon, the standard better-equipped model (free shipping, no tax) is just $3 more. The standard 50-inch plasma model is about $20 more than the special version.

As always, it pays to do a little research before you buy.

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