|Guide: How to shop for your first HDTV|
|Articles - Featured Guides|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Saturday, 21 April 2007|
Page 4 of 4
Know your HDTV budget
In the last section you should have figured out the size and resolution for the HDTV you plan on purchasing. Now we move on to the most important section of the decision making process: the budget. Since we all make different incomes, the rest of this article will concentrate on how to best go about investing a sizable portion of that income towards a primary television set. It could be argued that knowing your budget should come before you know what you want, but lets face it: nobody is going to walk away with an unheard of bargain in the Internet age.
PriceGrabber has made certain that you and everyone else can get the absolute lowest price on everything available to consumers. To this same end, using a price comparison tool such as PriceGrabber can save you hundreds of dollars. It saved me over $1100 by purchasing my Sharp AQUOS LC-52D62U 52" LCD 1080p HDTV from an online retailer instead of my local retail outlet. Although saving this much money allowed me to get an HDTV that would normally be out of my price range, the purchase did not go without incident.
By purchasing online, you put your trust into a freight company to deliver your HDTV. In my first attempt, the online merchant and their contracted freight company had a breakdown in communication which left me sitting at home waiting for a delivery that was scheduled to happen but never did. Two weeks later, I was taking a chance with a different online merchant (who ironically used the same freight company), and my new HDTV was delivered (albeit much later then initially scheduled). Even despite the perils of a freight shipment and botched delivery, I would do it all again to save that much money.
So the most important question is how much you have got budgeted to spend. Sure, the 60+ inch 1080p HDTV paired with a PS3 sounds real nice, but unless you can safely handle the increased financial burden, you are better off either waiting to make your purchase, or getting something more in line with your income. On a related note, because the first HDTV set I purchased was essentially lost with the freight carrier, I kept shopping the same item and two weeks later it had dropped a full $100. Technology is getting better by the minute, just like yesterdays technology is getting cheaper.
There are a few very basic items which should be considered a "given" in shopping for HDTV technology. These are the basic rules, which I learned and ultimately employed to make my (overly) informed decision to purchase the Sharp AQUOS LC-52D62U 52" LCD 1080p HDTV.
Basic shopping rules for HDTV:
Go HDTV window shopping
In the last section, Benchmark Reviews offered a few general rules to help make your shopping search a little more efficient. Now it's time for a little footwork.
Read everything you can about the product of your choice, and make sure to read just as much about the competing models. But no amount of colorful magazine pictures or high-resolution web page images can recreate the actual appearance and performance of any HDTV. Consider this a fact, and don't make a purchase without first seeing the real thing in person. Even though you may not have any intention on purchasing from a local retail outlet, you should use their showroom display to your advantage.
Local retail stores offer you with the opportunity to see the same product you plan on buying as you would see it in your own living room. But don't be taken with the special lighting and over-extended screen brightness which display floor salespeople employ to impress uninformed buyers. Without being too intrusive, you can request to skip though some channels or change room lighting, which will help you see which models offer the best contrast ratio (the difference between the brightest and darkest colors produced). Because of showroom parlor tricks, you may not have a fair chance at comparing contrast ratio between products; and in the end it may take a leap of faith to trust the manufacturer's technical specifications.
Before you make any major purchase, make sure you allow at least a full day to reflect on the transaction. In other words, don't decide what you want after reading this and then jump right into the checkout stand. There are still a few checklist items remaining to ensure that you get the most out of your money; or at a bare minimum, you get what you pay for. Here is my final list of suggestions prior to making the big purchase:
So that's it. Without totally losing you with boring technical banter, this article should help you select and purchase your first HDTV. If there is anything you would like to add, or just simply comment on this article, please post your remarks in the Benchmark Reviews Discussion Forum. Remember that thousands of visitors read this article, so your imput could help many.