Monday, July 2, 2012

Wanted: TV Advice for a Puzzled Shopper

by Kate Collins

Dateline USA: Writer needs advice as to where to shop for TVs, which TV to shop for, and when to buy. Please send replies to me, here, now. Please?

I’m in the market, or will be soon, for a new TV for my bedroom. I was thinking of getting something in the 32-37” range and thought picking one out would be a simple decision. That was until I started reading up on it. Consumer Reports has always been my go-to source, so I read their March 2012 article on TVs.  Now I’m more confused than ever. Here’s why.

First, do I buy LCD or plasma? Lots of choices if I want LCD, but viewing the picture from one side could be a problem. Plasma sets don’t have that problem. They also don’t come in small sizes very often. So basically, I’m limited to LCD. Right?

Second, is the ratings. The top TV brands for 32” sets was different than the top brands for 37” sets.  Why is that? If LG makes the best 37”, wouldn’t it just seem that they’d also rate as well in all sizes? Ha. Not so.  Thus, in order to get one of the highest ranked sets, or alternatively, not one that’s rated low, I’ll have to take my magazine with me.

Third is where to buy.  CS’s article in the June 2012 issue on the best places to buy electronics listed local appliance stores first, hhgregg second, and I don’t remember after that. My brain was on overload. Maybe Amazon. But what if there’s a problem with the set? What does Amazon do?

Fourth, there are way more brands, many that I’ve never even heard of, being sold than are listed in the ratings guide. Colby? Where did that come from?

Fifth, should I wait for holiday sales or just watch the fliers that come with the newspaper? Is there a better time to buy?

So here I sit, waiting for your helpful advice. Anyone buy a TV lately? Work in an appliance store? Have any recommendations? I would greatly appreciate the help. 


Beena said...

I am by no means an expert, but I've been researching for my family and we're looking in the same size range as well.

LCD or LED are your choices, with LED becoming more prevalent these days. I really recommend seeing whatever tv you choose in person, as I have found some LED tvs to be too intense for me. (Too much brightness/intensity—I got a headache a few minutes after looking at one in particular.)

LG, Samsung, and Panasonic are the most popular name brands, but there are so many brands out there that others may be just as good.

Best Buy has the largest selection of tvs in my area, but it is Best Buy, so there may be better options in your area. Costco has many as well.

Try and narrow it down by something, like size. For example, we are looking at 37" tvs, but overall dimensions matter because of the entertainment center.

We were told that prices don't really go down at the holidays, unless you're going for the larger sizes. The 32-37" tvs are pretty much priced the same all year long.

I don't know how helpful any of this is, but maybe you'll be able to narrow down your search a bit.

My best advice is to see it in person. You're going to be looking at it a fair amount, and it's important to see what works/looks best for you.

Su G said...

The interesting thing about seeing them in person, there are easy adjustments that dramatically effect the picture. After doing much shopping, I think the stores make the picture best on the style it wants to push. I don't have any advice. We are happy with our Sharp, but it is much bigger. We have a smallertv but havent set it up yet. It was on clearance at Sears, Seiki. Never heard of it but we needed cheap fast and it looked fine at the store ;). Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I had a Samsung and it broke just after the 2 year warranty was up. Took it in for repair and it was cheaper to buy a new one! I now have a sharp and I'm quite happy with it. Maybe you could talk to someone who repairs them and get a better idea of what type to buy. I have friends with Vizio's from Costco and they swear by them. Good luck in your search.

Terry P. said...

We never buy anything but Mitsubishi, so can't really help. What I would'nt do is buy a plasma. From everything I've heard and read is that they have a lot of problems. The best thing to do is go to the stores and look at them. And don't let a salesman talk you into buying something you don't really want.

Lizz said...

My husband has actually done extensive research on the subject, since we replaced 3 TV sets in our home last year. We have a plasma from Panasonic in our living room, and two LCDs from LG in our bedroom & office. All of which we would recommend.

Kate Collins said...

Great advice, everyone. I'm getting my confidence back. One question I have: is LED the same as plasma? Consumers talks only about LCD vs plasma. They also go into the new 3D sets, but I hear they're very costly.

Debra said...

I wanted a TV with built-in DVD player. Read CR's, they were not much help because frequently we can't find the exact set they recommend. We ended up buying a set from Target, no problems so far knock on wood.
When the DirecTv person tried to set it up, he could not do it. He left for a while, so I read the book and did it myself. I recently visited my Mom,and her LCD was very dark; we could not make out the figures on the screen. She had never adjusted the brightness, I was able to fix it on screen without the book.

Brittney said...

LED is a new type of backlighting/edgelighting for LCD TV's. The main advanateges they are supposed to have are better energy efficiency, brighter sharper picture, and slimmer. We have a LED in our bedroom and a regular in the living room and we will stick with LED's in the future. They have such a great picture. I was able to get a great 27" for a better price about a month after Christmas, so I'm not sold that you can get the best deals during holidays. But I do like Target and Best Buy the best. Best Buy has one of the best return policies/fixing policies out there. I would have looked at a local company if we had a good one but we don't.

Kate Collins said...

Brittney, you are the first to recommend Best Buy. They've recently had a bad rap on their service, so I was afraid to go there. Thanks for clearing up the LED issue, too. Anyone else have a store to recommend?

Me said...

My vote is for Vizio. I got mine (all four of them) from Costco. I have a small one (22", I think, in my extra bedroom, a 42" in my bedroom, a 50" in my Den and another one somewhere in the range of 37" that I use as a computer monitor). I've had the 37" for a couple of years longer than the others. I'm still impressed with the picture and the quality. I think they can also be purchased from Walmart, in case you don't have a Costco membership! As a HUGE bonus, many Vizio TV's contain wireless applications like Netflix so that you don't have to have an alternate box to connect in order to watch your Netflix streaming shows!

Kate Collins said...

I didn't know that about Vizio. I will definitely check out this brand.

Dawn Miller said...

Call "The Little Guys" in Mokena/Chicago. They are very helpful.
We have a Sharp Quattros that we love. It is in our family room and I think that one is a 52". In out bedroom we have a Samsung. It's a 37". We've been pleased with that television also.

kmg31 said...

I don't know anything about Vizio but I've seen it at restaurants and boy is the picture great! I would check out Vizio or the Sony's Bravia Bravado. Sony has a good record for repairs.

Where to buy is a challenge. I have some doubts about hhgreg. I like Best Buy but I feel their products are a lower grade. Plus the company is in financial trouble.

Kate Collins said...

Thanks for all your helpful comments and have a happy Fourth of July!