There’s some good news and some bad news for anyone looking to buy a new TV these days.
The good news is the market is absolutely flooded with all sizes, shapes,
prices, and quality. The bad news is it’s more confusing than ever to find the right unit, and sales and marketing people aren’t exactly trying to help sort things out – they’re just looking to unload as many TVs as possible.
Late last week, I got a call from a friend of mine who was about to drown in that sea of confusion. He asked if I’d take a ride-along to take a look at some TVs from a local advertisement.
Typically, the ad announced an unspecified brand and unspecified screen technology with a large “50 inches!” tag with a big “$599” next to it. The lack of any additional information was clearly suspect, and I didn’t blame my buddy for wanting a second opinion. Over the weekend, we took a trip out to the store, and a representative took us straight to a no-name plasma, which was an immediate dealbreaker. He then unleashed us on the rest of the enormous wall full of TVs.
We mulled over a few, with our overly eager sales assistant mumbling his way through some meaningless combinations of spec buzzwords (“the contrast ratio on this one is no good” – I didn’t bother asking for an actual number, since it wasn’t printed on the spec card and I knew he’d just invent something). Sadly, with most of the actual technical specs missing from most the placards (typically not a good sign), it was difficult to compare much beyond brand recognition, price, and straight-up eyeballing.
Ultimately, we found a killer 55-inch TV that was a little outside my friend’s price point, but worth the upgrade over smaller or similarly sized but crappier units. A quick check of the model on a few sites from my phone revealed it was a decent TV at a very good price. Working with the justification that the wife would forgive the price bump when she saw the picture, we loaded it up and headed back to his place to get it set. Fortunately, he was correct and the price tag was forgotten in the glow of such a huge home theater upgrade.
Not to be outdone, I decided it was time to solve a dilemma of my own
– a month or two ago, I had an unfortunate incident involving an articulated wall mount and a TV that was, shall we say, “around” the maximum recommended weight. When the arm actually sheared off when I was trying to move it one day, I decided the logical thing to do would be to get the same cheap mount and put a lighter TV on it. The second part of my reasoning involved moving the heavier TV down to the kitchen, since my tiny old-school CRT TV finally bit the dust. Helping my friend out and standing in the glow of all those TVs kicked my gadget lust into overdrive, and I soon was on the hunt for a super-thin LED-lit LCD TV. Six more inches (moving from 26 to 32) at half the weight – hey, it was just too good to pass up. Now I just have to pray to god nobody else comes to me for gadget advice, or else my wallet is going to burst into flames.