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Black Friday TV guide: are supermarket TVs ever worth it?

Argos Black Friday TV deals
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

There are plenty of places to find a new TV these days, whether you’re perusing the shelves of a local retailer or absent-mindedly clicking whatever Black Friday TV deals come up in your Google newsfeed. You may also be eyeing up a supermarket television this Black Friday or Cyber Monday – but is this your best option?

The past couple of decades have seen traditional supermarkets vastly expand the kind of products they offer, moving from groceries to clothing ranges, kitchenware, 4K Blu-rays and video games, and even electronic devices such as televisions.

You won’t find every new TV in your local supermarket, though, as it's only specific brands that tend to offer their wares in this environment. People tend to have a specific budget in mind when they walk in with their shopping list, and there’s a limit to how much they’ll spend there – while the truly high-end televisions out there, whether QLED, LCD, or the best OLED TVs, tend to be available through specialist retailers who know the ins and outs of the gadgets they’re selling.

So, what supermarket TVs can you buy, where are should you buy them, and are they a sensible purchase for your home?

Supermarket TVs: what and where?

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What supermarket TVs are available? There are a number of budget TV manufacturers that tend to target these retailers, such as Walmart and Target (in the US) or Asda, Tesco and Aldi (in the UK).

These TV brands include the likes of Polaroid, Onn, RCA, Spectre, JVC, Logik, or Blaupunkt.

You will see names like Samsung or Panasonic in our Walmart TV deals guide, but their ranges tend to be a step up in price for the TV size, format support, and panel technologies deployed in the set.

What are supermarket TVs like?

(Image credit: Sceptre)

The sets in this category usually fit the following three criteria: they’re cheap, they’re small, and involve a compromise.

Why cheap? Supermarket TVs need to appeal to the income bracket of people shopping in that particular outlet – and while you could drop a four-figure sum with your credit card in your local Walmart / Tesco, the most effective targeting strategy for TV manufacturers is to make the TV sale as frictionless as possible with the other purchases you’re making in the store. That means a TV cheap enough to feel at home on your shopping receipt.

Why small? Televisions you can pick up or fit in your shopping trolley are the easiest to stock in supermarkets, and easiest to fit into your car or method of transport (though a bicycle basket may be pushing it a bit).

Why a compromise? Supermarket TVs tend to gun for the value proposition, meaning you get either bottom-dollar televisions with basic capability – such as HD resolution, little format support, and limited smart TV interfaces – or TVs that offer more premium factors at a reduced cost (i.e. 4K resolution and HDR support).

There are exceptions on all three counts: there are certainly some larger sets available, higher-cost options, and sets that really offer fantastic performance for the cost. But this is generally where things lie.

So, should I buy a supermarket TV?

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Whether you buy a supermarket TV or not will depend on your priorities. If you’re on a restricted budget, and you can’t afford a TV approaching $500 / £500 / AU$800, then a supermarket TV is certainly a cost-effective way to get a display into your home. Keep in mind, though, that TVs of this kind boasting advanced technologies like Ultra HD, high dynamic range, or Dolby Vision support will only be providing a limited version of them.

4K TVs vary widely in how well they display high- and low-resolution content. That’s because the internal specs of the television and the quality of its picture processing are crucial to maintaining a smooth, detailed, and visually rich picture.

You do get what you paid for, and anyone bringing home a bargain TV shouldn’t be surprised if they find visual issues like shuddering frame rates, blooming around light sources, and unnatural-looking color contrast. It depends how important those factors are to you, but if you only use a TV in a limited capacity – or don’t want to shell out for a quality picture – a supermarket TV can certainly be a sensible use of your money.

Just make sure you’re getting a warranty on the set, in case the budget hardware gives out before you’ve got a decent amount of use from it.

Some supermarket TVs to consider (US and UK)

Element 40-inch 4K UHD Roku Smart TV $248 $179.99 at Walmart
A fantastic price for a mid-size 4K TV, the Element 40-inch smart TV is on sale for just $159.99. The UHD TV has the Roku experience built-in so you can stream your favorite movies and TV shows from apps like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, and more.
View Deal

Sceptre 43-inch FHD (1080P) LED TV $348 $139.99 at Walmart
If you're looking for a small-screen budget TV, the Sceptre 43-inch TV is on sale for just $139.99. The FHD TV features multiple HDMI ports which allow you to stream from devices like the Roku and Fire TV stick.
View Deal

JVC 43-inch 4K UHD Roku Smart TV $249.99 $199.99 at Walmart
If you're looking for a small-screen TV, the JVC 43-inch 4K TV is a fantastic option. On sale for just $199.99, the smart TV has the Roku experience built-in so you can enjoy content from apps like Hulu, Amazon Video, Netflix, and more.
View Deal

Medion 55-inch 4K Smart TV | £359 | Aldi
Medion is a budget electronics manufacturer, and its TVs are stocked in Aldi for their low price given what you get out of the box: 4K resolution, a 55-inch display, Freeview Play catch-up services, and Dolby Vision.View Deal

JVC 40-inch Fire TV Edition 4K TV | £329 | Currys
An example of a truly budget 4K set, packing in a 4K Ultra HD panel and Amazon's sleek and app-filled Fire TV interface for accessing all your favorite streaming interfaces. You'll get Dolby Vision and HLG supported formats too.

Other TV shopping advice for Black Friday