Black Friday HD, Blu-ray Deals Well Underway

Black Friday is just two days away (Nov. 27), but it isn't what it used to be when retailers held back on their holiday season pricing deals until the day after Thanksgiving. Once again, "it's the economy, stupid."

The strained economic climate now running into its second consecutive holiday season has led most retailers (both on-site and online) to start their sales as early as possible (which is one big reason why you started hearing holiday carols on store sound systems well in advance of Thanksgiving this month).

Still, even the early deals on HD-centric items are worth noting this time around, and there are some good deals that will have to wait for Black Friday, as usual. Yet, as with most special sales, this week's also comes with its own big caveat: Many of the most enticing deals are extremely short-lived because the HD/Blu-ray products affected are contingent on that infamous "While Supplies Last" tag, which, in many cases, could mean less than half a dozen units are available at any one retail outlet.

Besides noticeable price cuts on both Blu-ray players and Blu-ray disc titles this season, another trend seems to be low prices for 1080p panels—not just the 720p models that were subject to lower price points a year ago.

In fact, it's becoming increasingly difficult to even spot any large-screen 720p screens these days in North America, since 1080p has apparently been tapped as the mode-of-choice by consumers. (The fact that nothing is being transmitted in 1080p and you can only take full advantage of the format with 1080p Blu-ray disc content is another matter.)

If consumers spend slightly less this year for the holidays, as several surveys have found, it will be interesting to note how both HD set and Blu-ray player sales manage in the weeks ahead, as the percentage of HD household in the United States passes the 50-percent mark.