HDTV Buying Tips
You are finally ready to purchase your new HDTV, or you are at least ready to hit the showrooms and start the decision making process. Here are a few tips to help you survive.
Competition may be good to drive prices down, but it is detrimental to you if you have to compete for the full attention of your salesperson. Shop early in the day, ideally arrive 5 minutes after the store opens, you want the store with as few customers in it as possible. Don’t be there before the store opens, banging on the doors, tapping your watch; that’s not the best way to introduce yourself to your salesperson. Early in the week, Monday to Thursday is best, so that you are not interacting with your salesperson after party night. If you can’t get there early, then go late, about one hour before the store closes. Don’t get there 5 minutes before the store closes, for the same reason that you don’t want to be tapping on the doors first thing in the morning.
If you walk into any large TV retailer, you will inevitably see a big wall containing lots of TVs all fed by the same signal, split more times that you would care to guess. You can be assured that the HDTVs
on the wall are not being fed with the highest resolution and best connection they can handle. You will also quickly notice that the most expensive HDTVs are not
on that wall. Under those conditions it is very difficult to compare apples to apples. The more expensive HDTV is isolated away from the video wall that sends you into visual overload, probably has a new Blu-Ray Disc player hooked up to it, running a special
disc designed to accentuate that television’s best features. Here are a few things you can do to level the playing field.
Bring your own DVD
Travel with a copy of your favorite DVD, (hopefully something with some fast moving objects, night scenes,
and lots of color) play your DVD on all of the TVs you are auditioning. When you are watching the
scenes with fast moving objects, look for blurring of the objects; better performing sets will have less or no blurring. In the low lighting night
scenes, can you still make out the detail? Can you see blemishes on skin, texture of clothing, etc? Higher quality HDTV's will do a better a job reproducing detail even under poor lighting conditions.
Don’t be afraid to ask
Don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson to turn off the other TV’s
on the wall, or move that high end HD- DVD or Blu-Ray player to the TV you want to view. This is not a monumental request, because you are making this request early in the day or late at night when the store is relatively empty. Also HD- DVD is backwardly compatible with DVD, and while it is not a requirement of the Blu-Ray standard, I am sure they have a player in the store that is backward compatible. I mention this, because I have run into salespeople who will tell you differently.
Visit Small Retailers
Visit smaller retailers too. They are less likely to have the video wall, and will be in a better position to accommodate your viewing request. Their prices may be a little higher than the big box stores, but it will often include delivery and setup. Most small retailers have given up trying to slug it out head-to-head on price with the big retailers, but make up for the premium price on the service side.