13+ Things Your TV Salesman Won’t Tell You

Crank up the volume: Learn retail secrets for selling big screens in this TV buying guide.

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1. Buy your new TV in September or January.

1. Buy your new TV in September or January.
That’s when the new models come out and the prices go way down on discontinued models. Another time to get a deal: Black Friday, if you’re willing to brave the crowds.

2. Shoppers’ questions boil down to this:

2. Shoppers’ questions boil down to this:
LED, LCD, or plasma? LEDs and LCDs use the same technology, but LEDs are thinner and more expensive. LEDs can also be too reflective in a bright room. Plasmas offer the best picture for your money, especially if you’re watching at an angle, but they’re thicker than the others, and ghost images can be an issue.

3. Which brands do I recommend?

3. Which brands do I recommend?
For LCDs, LG, Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony have consistently been among the best in rankings by Consumer Reports. Among plasmas, Panasonic tops the list.

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4. Our margins on TVs are so thin, they’re almost nonexistent.

4. Our margins on TVs are so thin, they’re almost nonexistent.
The prices are designed to get you in the store, and then we try to sell you the expensive cords, accessories, and, of course, the extended warranty. Don’t buy it. Problems are rare, and most repairs happen in the first year, when the standard manufacturer’s warranty still covers you.

5. And don’t spend a lot of money on a fancy HDMI cable.

5. And don’t spend a lot of money on a fancy HDMI cable.
The one you can buy for $10 online is just as good as the $100 one in the store.

6. Flat screens have beautiful pictures, but the sound from most is pretty awful.

6. Flat screens have beautiful pictures, but the sound from most is pretty awful.
If you can’t afford an expensive audio system, get external speakers.

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7. Want a great deal?

7. Want a great deal?
Buy a refurbished set, a TV previously opened or returned. Check the warranty, though.

8. We’ve had customers put a tilt mount for a 50-inch television on the wall,

8. We’ve had customers put a tilt mount for a 50-inch television on the wall,
miss a stud or two, and then have the thing come crashing down. Come on. These TVs weigh more than 100 pounds. Unless you’re a licensed contractor, pay for the professional install.

9. Yes, the TV we just mounted on your wall is high enough.

9. Yes, the TV we just mounted on your wall is high enough.
The center of the screen should be 45 to 50 inches from the floor, putting it right at eye level. And don’t put it over your fireplace. It’s a TV, not artwork.

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10. Even if you’re hanging your TV on the wall, keep the stand.

10. Even if you’re hanging your TV on the wall, keep the stand.
You never know when you might decide to redecorate and place the TV on a piece of furniture. At least once a month, we get a call from someone looking for a particular stand, but TV technology changes so quickly that it’s a challenge for us to find the one you need.

3-D TV is just a fad. Nobody is making content for it, and you’ve still got to wear the stupid glasses.

3-D TV is just a fad. Nobody is making content for it, and you’ve still got to wear the stupid glasses.
We’re pushing it only because everyone already has a flat panel and we need to get you in the store.

12. Televisions in the store are set at their brightest levels to attract your eye.

12. Televisions in the store are set at their brightest levels to attract your eye.
Adjust yours when you get home or the colors will be distorted.

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13. Don’t expect your flat screen to be around forever.

13. Don’t expect your flat screen to be around forever.
You’ll be lucky if it lasts five years. Today’s TVs are made to be replaced.

14. Always have your TV delivered and installed the same day.

14. Always have your TV delivered and installed the same day.
If it’s out of our possession and it doesn’t work when you turn it on, we may try to say that you caused the problem.

15. Thinner is not always better.

15. Thinner is not always better.
If you’re setting your TV on a piece of furniture, why are you paying a premium for the thinnest technology?

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16. Forget 3D.

16. Forget 3D.
What’s really hot right now are TVs that connect to the Web. Most have “apps” that let you access streaming content on pre-selected sites such as Netflix, YouTube, and Vudu, to name a few. A few, like Google TV, offer full Web browsing.

17. If you’re connecting your TV to the Internet, think twice before you go wireless.

17. If you’re connecting your TV to the Internet, think twice before you go wireless.
Interference is still a big issue, especially if you live near an airport or another location with a lot of radios. To minimize headaches, hard-wire the TV to your modem.

18. If you do decide to get the extended warranty,

18. If you do decide to get the extended warranty,
ask whether the warranty will provide in-home service or if you’ll have to pay to pack up the TV and ship it somewhere, which can cost hundreds of dollars. Also ask if the warranty covers such problems as a power-supply replacement.

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19. A contrast ratio of 50,000 to 1 may sound impressive,

19. A contrast ratio of 50,000 to 1 may sound impressive,
but because every manufacturer measures it differently, it’s really a meaningless number.

20. Unless you’re watching a lot of Blu-rays, you don’t need a resolution of ultrafine 1080p.

20. Unless you’re watching a lot of Blu-rays, you don’t need a resolution of ultrafine 1080p.
Most people can’t tell the difference between 1080p and 1080i, and even if you could, there are no stations broadcasting in a resolution that high.

21. Save the box your TV came in, and the plastic Styrofoam that’s inside.

21. Save the box your TV came in, and the plastic Styrofoam that’s inside.
If you move or something goes wrong and you have to ship the unit back to the manufacturer, you’ll be so glad you did.

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44 thoughts on “13+ Things Your TV Salesman Won’t Tell You

  1. Hey, I sell televisions for a living… what they said about plasmas and leds is the complete opposite… Plasma televisions are heavier and thicker… but in a room with natural light all you will get is glare due to the glass screen… led is way better in natural light, dont let this website fool you…

    1. Side note… I hate watchign 3d tv’s (they give me a head ache) but even if you dont watch 3d on your tv. It has higher end processor chips and hardware in order to process 3d… If a 3d tv is the same price as another similar spec tv. buy 3d always!!! (dont pay extra for 3d)

  2. I can tell the difference between 1080i and 1080p, but I can’t tell the difference between 720p and 1080p. Anything interlaced is worse than the next step down progressive.

  3. Lol woww is this the dumbest thing I’ve seen. There is a tremendous difference between the cables for starters, only high end (some mid-range but 40$) cables are actually certified by Simplay for TrueHD and provide uncompressed or scrambled signals. Then let’s also add that 3D is actually huge and there is tons of releases for 3D content out there now. Seriously did you just do a bunch of drugs and try to brain storm ideas about TVs? How do you even have a job for Readers Digest..go work for some free local newspaper

    1. hi there you forgot too mention 3d tv channels like 3net 24/7 and 3d sky bbc 3d and few other 3d channels you can reqest if you dont have them

  4. This writer is very incorrect about a lot of this.

    A 50″ TV weighs between 40-60lbs, not 100. 40lbs is a huge difference.

    Salesman tell you that the TV’s have a crappy sound! Why would they ever tell you a flatscreen sounds good when they have HTIBs and soundbars they want to sell you?

    “Margins on NEW TV’s are almost nonexistent.” The title of this slideshow is things a salesman won’t tell you. A salesman WANTS to tell you the margins on TVs are small so you’re more likely to buy it.

    And again, why would a salesman not say what TV’s they recommend…

    And LEDs too reflective in a bright room…NOoooo…. LED TVs work BEST in a bright room. And plasmas look best in dark rooms.

    So much fail in this article.

  5. I used to work as a warranty service coordinator for an electronics chain and I have to disagree with your claim that “most repairs happen in the first year”. Warranties used to be longer (2-3 years) because that was the time frame that manufacturers considered a low risk. When repairs started trending to just outside the one year mark, manufacturers cut back the warranty period so they wouldn’t have to eat the repair costs. That`s why in many cases the extended warranty IS worth it. Just be sure to read and understand the terms and conditions before buying.

  6. “3-D TV is just a fad. Nobody is making content for it”

    That is not necessarily true. I have noticed a big increase in 3D Games for PS3 and Xbox…Not to mention most if not all Movies that are 3D in the theater are Released 3D Blu-ray for home.
          A good cable is a good idea.You get what you pay for…you don’t need some $300 esoteric one, unless your into that. But a nice monster or Audioquest is good enough for the average consumer who want quality…Remember HDMI 2.0 is soon to be the new standard and will support 4k resolution…Extended warranties are always a good Idea.

    1. “Extended warranties are always a good idea.” This is nuts. What if the warranty costs as much as the object covered? A cost/benefit analysis is a matter of failure modes and their cost and probability and the cost of the warranty. And you might want to consider all of your purchases together. If only 10% fail within the extended warranty and you buy warranties on all of your purchases, is that reasonable?

  7. HELP – I have to send 32 inch tv back to manufacturer before warranty runs out – vendor did send me a UPS label – but UPS no longer handles big boxes for shipping tv;s etc.
    They will help with the packing – just not the box (unfortunately son threw away shortly after setting it up) 

  8. As someone who sells TVs i would say there are some truths to this although the first slide is nonsense Plasma is the cheapest but has by far the worse picture and is the most reflective.

  9. im a high school teacher.  can you come up with a “13+ things your child’s high school teacher won’t you”? Like “When I call, pick up the phone or call me back.  Do not complain I flunked her or him and didn’t tell you.”  “On Parent-Teacher Conference night, do not take up more than 4 minutes.  Be considerate about the 30 other parents behind you.”  etc…

  10. If you mount the TV near the ceiling, it’s easier to see it in a crowded room and it also frees the lower part of the wall for another use or piece of furniture.

  11. 5. And don’t spend a lot of money on a fancy HDMI cable.
    The one you can buy for $10 online is just as good as the $100 one in the store.
    This is not true. A good cable works better and is less likely to fail. I have installed 100’s of systems and the cheap cables cause many problems. It is not just digital-it is digital over an analog cable.

  12. 5. And don’t spend a lot of money on a fancy HDMI cable.
    The one you can buy for $10 online is just as good as the $100 one in the store.
    This is not true. A good cable works better and is less likely to fail. I have installed 100’s of systems and the cheap cables cause many problems. It is not just digital-it is digital over an analog cable.

    1.  Hdmi cords transmit digital data in the native digital format.  That is the point of hdmi over component.  Hdmi either works and transmits all of the data or it doesn’t.  If it doesn’t you literally see the result and can consider it a faulty cable.  Only over long runs will expensive cables have an edge over cheap ones and even that is not always true.  If you have a 50 foot cheap cable that works, it works. 

  13. Text 3060402 to 69937 for ‘Night Time by Tyler Shemwell…G-ESTEEM

    /I’m i doing too much/Or losing my touch/

    …a brilliantly written song about “can’t wait until night time to party,” with lines like,/Riding through the slum/Where i’m from/A place where crack fiends and fat girls love me the most/Some never made it home to take their work clothes off/Afraid they gonna miss something/.

    -“Real and A Good Time”

    G-ESTEEM-A tenacious confidence;mental toughness”If god is with me than who can be against me? I can do anything. G-ESTEEM Go hard,we dying soon.G-ESTEEM “The game is in belief”

    STAY BOW-LEGGED & THICK. G-ESTEEM (Presidential Election Nov 6, 2012) 44-Life

  14. DONT BELIEVE WHAT PEOPLE SAY BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT THE ONE WHO WORKS OR HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH TVS. BUYING A TV AND WRITING OPINIONS ABOUT TVS NOT GOING TO GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO WRITE LIES. DISCONTINED TVS AVAILABLE ON MARCH NOT JANUARY OR SEPTEMBER. PLEASE STOP POSTING SOMETHING NOT TRUE. THANK YOU

    1. Wow Sean, you posted in all caps – everything you say must be true, AND important, and you only had to use three periods in the whole thing! Unfortunately, it’s really difficult to read caps so most people won’t bother.

      1. Why miss y how you doth sooth my rage of cap flatulating sloth who roam these boards with such abandon.

  15. Ridiculous that the writer of this story couldn’t do a “little” homework.  There are plenty of stations broadcast in 1080p HD not to mention a little thing called Blu-Ray which you will want to watch on said new television.  The piece of cabling is 100% correct though.  Never, ever buy a Monster cable again.  

    1. Fios still isn’t broadcasting -anything- in 1080p as of 12/8/2014. Fios Quantum VMS boxes will send a 1080p signal to the TV but the source material is still 1080i or 720p. Maybe some of the other cable providers are better.

  16. While most of the major networks broadcast in 720p, the pay channels such as HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and Epix  as well as their on demand versions all have content that is broadcast in 1080p. So if you have digital cable it may be worth your while to get the better set.

  17. I work at a repair shop, the 100 dollar HDMI cord is wholesale 10 bucks. Doesn’t matter if you buy the super expensive cords, they’re the same stuff you can buy at Radio Shack (and probably made by the same company) Buy the extended warranties.  These all have major repairs in the first 18 months to three years – and that’s out of warranty.  Samsungs have power supply issues that are famously viral.  Sony quit making their own tvs a while back – the panels on their LCDs have tab bonding issues that are not covered by some recall/class action lawsuit that you’ll be stuck with unless you have the extended service contract.  Better yet?  Don’t worry about buying something like this and stick with your old CRT/Picture Tube tv that will probably last another 15 to 20 years.

  18. don’t buy the warranty, but i’ll be lucky if it lasts 5 years?  $10 hdmi is just as good as $100 hdmi?? seriously this was written by someone who knows absolutely nothing about technology.

    1. The inexpensive HDMI cable IS just as good as the expensive ones.  Read articles on this on CNET.  We have several LED TV’s in our home and the clarity is the same whether an expensive or inexpensive HDMI cable is used.  I started out with the Monster HDMI cables ($50), read the articles regarding inexpensive HDMI cables, purchased one for $12, and the found that the clarity is the same.

      1. Cheep cables cause problems and fail more often than ones built with higher quality control.
        This is what the experts in the field say, not the reviewer who did a single anecdotal test.

        You get what you pay for so be reasonable, not cheep

         

        1. Randall Starr,

          What’s “cheep” b/c I’ve never heard of that brand?
          This conclusion is based on what? Even if they did, you’d be able to buy 5 or 10 of them before they cost more than the Monster and other “premium” brands.

          1. ok costco, have fun going back to the store every time the cord starts getting shaky right when you and your chick,(probably a dude for you), jusssst sit down to watch something.

            you might drive a prius and eat organic, but nobody cares

          2. ok costco, have fun going back to the store every time the cord starts getting shaky right when you and your chick,(probably a dude for you), jusssst sit down to watch something.

            you might drive a prius and eat organic, but nobody cares

          3. Who plays with their HDMI cables?…I have had mine for years (cheapie) and my TV, DVR, and DVD player work great…so don’t dance with your HDMI cables…ok?.

        2. LOL – I’m not sure I’d take the advice of someone who can’t spell “cheap”. Besides, just because something costs more doesn’t mean that it has higher quality control, or higher quality for that matter. Anyhow, you can buy the exact cable online for pennies on the dollar online – check EBay or Amazon. Why waste your money foolishly?

        3.  Buying a 100 dollar cable that performs exactly like a 5 dollar one is the antithesis of reasonable.

        4. Why do morons continue to think expensive cables are better?  Don’t get me wrong, don’t buy something made out of twist-ties and bubble gum but geesh…  $100 for a cable?  Are you nuts?

        5. Hate to tell you bud, but the slideshow is right. Would you like to tell me just what problems they cause? How they fail? Guess what stores use when they hook up displays: the cheapest possible cable (usually store brand).  For runs longer than 20 feet, quality can become an issue, but the vast majority of consumers need a six-foot cable at most. When I worked electronics retail, even though we got Monster for 1/3 the price, we still bought the store brand because it was the cheapest.

          I did laugh at the second tip though. LED and LCD may use the same basic display technology, but the lighting technlogy is definitely not the same. LED consumes less power and has a longer life than CCFL. If you get a set with local dimming, you’ll have superior black levels.

        6. Dude, HDMI is a digital interface. It uses error correction schemes. So outside a pin getting bent or something there’s absolutely no difference between cables. Maybe some extra shielding? Meh. If there is signal degregation that actually affects the picture the picture will be blank.It’s not analog. it’s digital. And any HDMI cable is to the HDMI standard, which means they all do the exact same things.

        7. Cheep is what little chicks do! Never heard of cheep cables or tvs or anything else.

    2. The inexpensive HDMI cable IS just as good as the expensive ones.  Read articles on this on CNET.  We have several LED TV’s in our home and the clarity is the same whether an expensive or inexpensive HDMI cable is used.  I started out with the Monster HDMI cables ($50), read the articles regarding inexpensive HDMI cables, purchased one for $12, and the found that the clarity is the same.

    3. zerocredibility,
      Apparently you know nothing about technology. It has been clearly proven that the expensive cables are a waste of money. Spending 10x more on something doesn’t equate to it being any better whatsoever. But you keep right on buying them so Monster can stay in business.

    4. Speaking as someone who was in electronics retail for a long time, there’s some right and some wrong here.

      Buy the TV warranty. Buy the laptop warranty.  Don’t buy the desktop computer warranty. Newer TV’s use cheaper components since there’s less margin, regardless of brand. Replacing one lamp or circuit board will quickly surpass the warranty cost.

      That $5 HDMI cable is just as good as the $100 cable. Digital is digital, you’re either getting the data or you aren’t.  Just make sure the cable version matches the HDMI version you need transfer rate for(ie 1.3, 1.4). This rule doesn’t apply to analog connections.  Get higher quality cables for those.

    5. ehhh, 100$ hdmi is still just an hdmi… does not add to the picture.. But yea most of this is nonsense

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