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November 23, 2012

Slate: What not to buy on Black Friday

(Continued)

PALO ALTO, Calif —

The good news is that this year, you'll find some amazing deals on TVs. For example, Best Buy is selling a 40-inch Toshiba for just $180, and Wal-Mart has a 50-inch Emerson set for $300. You can always find cheap TVs on Black Friday, because the price of large LCD panels has been falling steadily for a long time. But over the last few months these prices have seemed to stabilize, according to the research firm iSuppli. This could mean that we're reaching long-term low prices for LCD TVs that are 60 inches and smaller. And that means it's time to buy, because you're not likely to get a much better bargain by waiting till next year.

What about the possibility that your bargain TV will suck? I suggest you always research your model before you buy. But TVs are generally much better than they used to be, so even the worst models will still have a great picture. That $180 Toshiba, for instance, gets pretty good reviews.

Also buy a second computer monitor (or a bigger first one). The logic here is the same as for the TV market-LCD prices are at rock-bottom, so you can get a great computer monitor today for not much cash. If you already have a good display, get a bigger one. If you already have a big display, get a second big one.

My feeling about computer monitors is that more is better. More screen space allows you to get around your computer with less scrolling and less hiding and unhiding of windows. Plus, a big screen is basically the only reason to be using a desktop machine anymore, so why not go as big as humanly possible?

At the moment, my main machine, a Windows 7 desktop, sports two big displays-one 27 inches and another 24 inches. But I can get another 27-inch display for just $200 this week. Even if I have to get a bigger desk-and maybe a bigger office to house that much screen space, it will be worth it.

Manjoo is Slate's technology reporter. @fmanjoo

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