What Your TV Salesperson Won’t Tell You
Smart TVs, accessories, flat screens, delivery—check out this guide from the experts to avoid common buyers' mistakes and get the most bang for your buck.
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. Check out these 29 ways to get great deals on anything.
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.
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. Learn some more secrets mall salespeople won't tell you.
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.
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. Here are some more ways to save big when you shop online.
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.
Want a great deal?
Buy a refurbished set, or a TV previously opened or returned. Check the warranty, though. Don't forget this guide to the tech gadgets you should and shouldn't buy used.
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. Learn which spot in your home you should never, ever hang a TV.
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.
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.