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Black Friday 2018 – Steals & Scams

I try to find the best deals for my customers and networking partners each year, so here are the best deals to grab this Black Friday (and things to avoid).  As new ads get leaked I’ll update this post, so check back thru the coming week for updates.

The Steals


LG 70" 4K Smart TV

Walmart has the best deal I’ve seen so far is a 65″ 4K TCL with built-in Roku for ONLY $398.  In case you haven’t heard of TCL don’t worry, it’s actually a very highly rated TV with some of the best feedback on Amazon.  It’s my go-to recommendation for any customer looking for great bang for their buck.

They also have a 55″ Hisense with Roku for $248 and a 40″ Hisense non-smart TV for $99.  Last year we thought a 32″ for under $100 was a steal so these deals are amazing.

Looking for a huge TV?  Best Buy has a 70″ LG 4K Smart TV for only $699.  That lands squarely on the $10/inch mark I look for on premium brand TV deals.




KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Instant Pots are super popular now and they’re also on sale nearly everywhere.  It looks like Walmart has the best deal though at only $59.  Keep an eye out for Amazon though because they did a lightning deal on them last year for $40.

Kohl’s has a great deal on two different immersion blenders, with one for only $5 after rebate!  And it’s not just the hand blenders on sale.  Check out this page for all the $5 appliance deals at Kohl’s.

Best Buy is going to have a KitchenAid stand mixer for $219 ($280 off).

Belk is also offering an entire selection of Bella appliances for $7.99 after rebate; the most notable being a toaster oven.

The best deal on an air fryer is at JCPenny$4.99 after a $20 mail in rebate.  They’re also offering a toaster oven at the same price.


Game Systems

Xbox One S and PS4’s will be on sale pretty much everywhere for $199.  Both will come with one game or another.  However, the best deal I’ve seen so far is Kohl’s where they’re offering an additional $60 Kohl’s cash bonus.  Bonuses like this are how you make your holiday budget stretch the farthest.

GameStop is offering a $50 gift card with the purchase of any new gaming system.

GameStop is also offering Xbox Live subscription cards for $10 off.

Also at GameStop is the Seagate 4TB Xbox One Game Drive for $99 ($60 off).



If your TV is lacking in the sound department, Target will be running this Samsung Soundbar with wireless subwoofer for $119 ($80 off).


PC’s and Peripherals

32" Dell Monitor

If you’re looking for portable storage Best Buy has a great combo deal on a Western Digital 4TB hard drive with a 32GB thumb drive for only $79.99 ($120 off).

Best Buy also has a 120GB USB 3.0 thumb drive for $18.99 ($61 off).

If you need an upgrade to your workstation or home office Staples has a 32″ Dell computer monitor for $129 ($90 off).

Staples also has a Brother Laser Printer for $49 (50% off).

Staples also has a selection of printers and projectors which offer up to an additional $50 savings if you trade in your old equipment.


Other Electronics

If you want Roku but don’t need a whole new TV don’t worry.  Roku Ultra 4K is going to be on sale pretty much everywhere for $48 (50% off).  However, Walmart is the best place to pick one up because they’re throwing in a package of streaming credits worth over $50 including Sling TV, Vudu, and Showtime.

Best Buy also has a deal on a Roku Stick for $29.99 ($20 off).

Another good deal at Best Buy is their select offerings of $7.99 4K Blu Ray movies.  These are generally $30 or more.  They also have standard Blu Ray movies as low as $3.99.

GoPro HERO7Sometimes retailers have price agreements with manufacturers which prohibit them from offering a discount on the item itself.  Instead retailers will make special packages or offers if you buy the item from them.  This is the case with Best Buy and the GoPro HERO7 for $399.  It’s the same price it always is, but BB is offering a $30 gift card and a free 128GB memory card with purchase.  That’s a solid deal if you’re looking to be the star of your own action film.


The Scams

It’s important to do your research before you head out on Black Friday because not everything the stores claim is a “door buster” is actually a good deal.

PowerBeats by Dre are a great example.  They retail for $199.  Kohl’s is offering them for $149 and giving $45 Kohl’s cash as an incentive to buy.  Target has the same ones for $89 with no strings attached.  However neither of these “deals” is better than the current ebay price of $75 with free shipping.  And yes, that’s new, not used.

PowerBeats by Dre

Rocketfish Full Motion BracketAnother example: Best Buy’s Rocketfish TV Brackets.  As far as quality, they’re fine, I can’t say anything bad about them.  That price though…  a full motion TV mounting bracket for 40″-75″ TV’s for $99 ($100 off).  $100 is reasonable, but we can sell you a full motion bracket for $75, and our prices include tax.  In fact, we’ll give you $25 off that price if we’re mounting the TV for you.

Also at Best Buy is a 4ft HDMI cable for $9.99 ($20 off).  Not only is this not a good deal, but at the original $29.99 it’s almost criminal.  Retailers make loads of money on accessories like cables and brackets.  At Install Heroes we charge $1/ft for HDMI cables no matter the length.  For more information about why expensive HDMI cables are a waste of good money check out this article on MUO.

Conn’s really should be more wary of making deals look better than they actually are considering their name is already what we use to convey an abuse of confidence.  That hasn’t stopped them from inflating the value of deal they’re offering on an HP laptop this Black Friday.  It’s a 15.6″ touchscreen i5 laptop with 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive for $399.  It’s actually not a bad deal.  The problem comes when they claim that it’s a savings of $600.  A laptop with those specs for $1000 is a rip off, and any claim that suggests it’s worth $1000 is a scam.  Just to compare; the computer I’m writing this post on right now is an i7 convertible touchscreen with 12GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a 128GB SSD but it only cost $1100… two years ago.

This is just another example of the importance of doing your research and having a pro that you trust to answer questions.  Install Heroes always offers free advice, so feel free to contact us about any electronics you’re considering for purchase.  We’ll be happy to consult with you about your needs and whether the item your considering will meet them.

TV Wall Mount Installation

TV wall mount installation

TV Wall Mount Installation

One of the things that TV wall mount installation has taught me is that there are three basic types of people.  There are of course many subsets of these groups, but the three main types of people are: the “DIYers”, the “Can’t Do’s” and the “Could Do’s”.  The DIYers don’t need our help and they don’t want our help, unless they try to do it themselves and mess something up.  The Can’t Do’s really do need our help, either because they don’t have the knowledge or the experience to do it themselves.  Lastly the Could Do’s; who could do the job themselves but either don’t have time to do it themselves, or would simply rather pay someone to do it for them. No matter if you’re going to pay to have someone install the TV for you, or if you’re thinking of doing it yourself, there are a few things you should know before you get started.

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Customer Site Photos

Tilt TV Bracket

Check out these before and after pics from customer sites.

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Home Theater: Working with a budget

There are a lot of companies out there who will lead you to believe that you have to spend a lot of money to have a decent home theater room in your home.  We’re here to tell you it isn’t true.  We recently serviced a customer, we’ll refer to him as Mr. Smith.  Mr. Smith wanted to turn his basement rec room into a full home theater room.

Home Theater Room BeforeHome Theater Room After

The project entailed having an electrician install new wall sconces with a dimmer switch as well as an electrical outlet in the ceiling for the projector.  It also involved having a handyman install a painted on projection screen, build a deck for elevated seating, and refinish the trim work in the room.  After the carpet guys came in and re-carpeted the room, including the new elevated seating deck, we installed all the A/V components.  We mounted the projector to the ceiling, mounted the surround sound speakers on the walls, concealed all cabling and wires for the entire system, configured the sound and picture and consolidated the entire system onto one remote control.

When all was said and done, Mr. Smith ended up with a 120″ high definition screen with full Dolby Digital surround sound, and he came out spending less than $10,000 for the entire setup.  A budget conscience customer could conceivably have a similar job done for under $5000.

I hope this sheds a bit of light on what might be possible in your home.  Feel free to contact us for a consultation on your project.  Remember; Call and we’ll come to the rescue!

And for more images of this job check out our Facebook Page.

TV Calibration; Does your TV need it?

Yes, your TV needs to be calibrated.  For those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about;  Calibration refers to adjusting the color, tint, brightness, and contrast of the TV to get you the best color and HDTV viewing experience possible.  Far too often I see customers who set their color and screen settings to “Vivid” mode just because it’s brighter.  Brighter does not mean better.  In fact brighter can be bad for your eyes and it can cost you money.

“Sounds like an excuse for me to pay you another $50″…

Not necessarily.  Have you ever been watching a football game and noticed that the field loTV Calibrationoks like it’s painted green instead of just growing green?  That’s a symptom of a TV with incorrect color settings.  Have you ever been watching night scene in a movie and noticed that something which should be black looks more like dark grey?  That’s a symptom of a TV with incorrect Contrast/Brightness settings.

Having your TV calibrated will cure all those symptoms, and more.  A correctly calibrated TV will often result in a dimmer picture than the default settings, and if the TV produces less light, it uses less power and can enjoy a longer lifespan thanks to the reduced strain on the light-generating components of the TV.  So not only are you getting a much better image, you could be saving electricity and making your TV last longer as well.  I only say “could” because some TVs have to be set brighter than factory settings to obtain optimal picture quality.  After all, picture quality is the primary reason to have your television calibrated.

At this point I have done over 100 TV calibrations, and I have yet to find a single customer who cannot see the difference once I demonstrate the before/after affects of the calibration.  Because of this I offer a money back guarantee;  If you’re unsatisfied with Install Heroes’ Calibration Service after we perform a calibration on your previously un-calibrated TV, we’ll give your money back.  It’s that simple.  We know you’ll be happy with the TV Calibration Service, and we’re willing to prove it.

So why can’t I just calibrate my TV myself?

In fact you can do a basic calibration yourself, without the help of a professional.  If you Google search “TV Calibration Images” you’ll find a lot of images that can be used to do a very basic calibration on your TV.  Simply burn these images to a disc and play it in your DVD player.  The same sites which contain the images will typically also include instructions on how to utilize them.  The information is a bit too detailed to cover here and now, but it is available online.

Spyder Colorimeter

The difference between this DIY version of a TV calibration and what you would pay a professional like myself to do is that I utilize a Colorimeter.  This device is basically an electronic eye that connects to a laptop and uses proprietary software to help measure and calibrate the TV settings far more reliably than the human eye.

My buddy had his TV calibrated, can’t I just copy his settings?

No.  The reason is that every TV is different, even within the same manufacturer and model.  Even more different are your homes and their lighting conditions.  Lighting in the room has the greatest impact on how your TV will ultimately be calibrated.  This is why movie theaters have no windows, natural light would alter the way the on screen image looks.  Additionally, it is not recommended that you have a calibration done on a TV in a sun-room since the lighting conditions in that room are constantly changing.

Final Thoughts…

Like anything else, there are a lot of varying online opinions about the importance of television calibration.  Ultimately it’s like surround sound;  It’s not necessary, but it will improve your viewing experience.  There are many choices to make when purchasing a new TV or home entertainment system, and they are all very personal choices.  You can be perfectly happy without having your TV calibrated, but those who choose to have it done will never be disappointed with their decision.

So if you find yourself watching the Kentucky Derby and thinking to yourself “those horses just don’t look quite right”; Call and we’ll come to the rescue!