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Before You Buy A Television

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Before buying a new television, make a plan and consider factors such as price, type, and size. Impulse buying can lead to poor choices, so when you know what you want, be the smart consumer and stick to your plan.

Price

Before rushing out to your neighborhood electronics super center, take a look at your bank account, and do a little budget analyzing. A 60" Flat Panel Plasma display might dominate your nightly dreams, but it's hardly worth putting you in financial peril. Yes, many stores offer interest-free financing for up to a year, but if you can't make the payments - what then? Don't worry, no matter how much you have to spend, there's a good TV waiting for you out there.

Where It's Going - Size and Weight

Measure the space where you'll put the television. (Note: A 32" tube won't fit in a 24" space) Some televisions weigh over 100 pounds, and can be difficult to move. If you must take stairs to get to your residence, use some deductive reasoning - what goes up must come down. Factor the room size, and choose the best fit for the room before going to a store. Since stores are probably bigger than your living space, the TV will appear smaller at the store.

Type of Television

When considering price, size, and weight, you'll most likely bounce back and forth between various types of televisions. Do you want to go HD with plug and play capabilities? Do you want a flat panel or something that sits on a media stand or the floor? Knowing what type of television you want will not only narrow your search, it'll help you determine the best price within your selected group. However, it's best to visit a store to see for yourself what type you like best.

Features

Other than a great picture at an even better price, what do you want out of your television? Do you want it to be digital cable ready, have parental controls, or be compatible with your digital camera? What about better built-in audio or picture in picture? Think of a television as like buying a car when considering extra bells and whistles - you get what you pay for and the more features the higher the price.

Audio/Video Input and Outputs

This is pretty important when considering a television. A simple rule of thumb is the lower priced models don't have as many input/outputs as higher priced ones. This can be an issue if you have multiple input devices like a set-top box, DVD player, VCR, digital camera, etc. There are solutions for any wiring challenge, but it costs money to solve. Consider the cost of fixing your potential input/output issue before buying, and think ahead to possible additions.

Length of Warranty & Extended Warranties

Most manufacturers offer a one-year parts, 90-day labor warranty, but you can also buy an extended warranty through the manufacturer, retail outlet, or third party business. Warranties are important because they fix defects at little or no cost to the consumer. Extended warranties can be expensive, and before buying one, contact your home insurance or credit card company to see if they offer some sort of added protection by paying an extra premium or by purchasing with their card.

Where to Purchase

Do you want to buy from a local retail outlet, through the manufacturer, or online. Retail outlets are nice because you can see your model before taking it home, and you meet face-to-face with the sales person. Buying online or through the manufacturer is similar in that you're usually buying from home. While manufacturer prices are often higher, online stores offer some of the lowest prices. Regardless of where you buy, consider delivery charges and restocking fees if the item is returned.

Understanding Your Sales Professional

Does a sales professional work on commission or not? Are they really experts in their field, or are they filling in from another department? The truth is you don't know. However, if you're armed with a holster of knowledge and focused on what you want, there's less likely a chance you'll get talked into buying something you don't want or need. Keep in mind, sales professionals are only doing their job, and no matter how hard they push, it’s your decision.
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