Freshly Squeezed OpEd: Well, Do You Feel Lucky, Punk?

Jan 27, 2014 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Up coming is what is considered by many to be the best selling HDTV weekend. If you’re adventurous, you may want to check out ‘open box’ returns at your local box stores several days after the Super Bowl.
A roll of the dice? Most definitely. But I did this several years ago and saved 20%-25% off of the new price. Allow me to explain.
I regularly watch a podcast about high definition viewing. Somebody submitted a tweet about purchasing as much HDTV with as little money as possible. The hosts’ answer peaked my interest.
Let me begin by profiling my buying habits. I invariably buy refurbished computers. Why? I look at it this way. If I purchase a brand new computer, it may have been number 497 that came down the line that particular day. A refurb can be a return because it did have a problem to someone returning it because it was a gift that they didn’t want. And there’s lots of reasons in-between. To be resold, it had to be bench tested specifically by a single tech. That comforts me. Plus, I get the new computer, save several hundred dollars and receive the full warranty. Win-win-win.
One of the podcast’s hosts presented an interesting point of logic in keeping your HDTV cost down. First, there are only a handful of screen manufacturers out there. They normally build the screens to the specifications of the purchasing company (ie., LG, Samsung, Panasonic, etc.) who slap their logo on the set. Others are built to in-house specs and sold to companies such as Best Buy or H.H.Gregg (for example), who slap their own brand names on them. In Best Buy’s case, Coby is their entry level and Insignia is their upgraded model.
I decided to wait until two days after the Super Bowl was played. Sure enough, there were a bunch of open box returns. All the buyers wanted was a decent sized screen for the event and planned to return it after they cleaned up after the party.
Being low on funds, yet longing for a larger HDTV, I purchased an open box 42” 120mhz Insignia. It was missing the base which didn’t bother me, as I planned to wall mount it. But in retrospect, I should have insisted (for resale purposes) that they supplied one. It did, however, have the appropriate manuals and necessary cords, so I was satisfied.
I had it mounted to the wall, connected it to my third generation AppleTV, used the free iOS THX calibration software to fine tune the picture (a must have) and I was up and running. Two years later, I’m still happy with my purchase.
I also made sure that it had the inputs and outputs that I required; three HDMIs, optical audio, etc.
Now, is this for the faint hearted? No. Unless you can get a decent warranty, no. But if you are looking to score a larger screen (and who isn’t?), you may want to consider strolling down to your local store and see if there are any bargains to be had. Just be sure to put the set through all your necessary tests, no matter how long that takes. Best to discover any problems (potential or otherwise) now rather than later. And make sure that it fulfills your hardware requirements.
Myself, I’d love to move up to a 55” screen this year, but bucks are even tighter than two years ago.
So there, I throw this experience out there to give you one more option. But as I said, BUYER BEWARE!


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