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13+ Things Your TV Salesman Won’t Tell You

LCD? LED? Plasma? Confused by HDTV’s endless options? Get the answers you need straight from a TV salesman’s mouth.

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1. We Don’t Make Our Money From the TVs

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.

(Photo: altrendo images/Stockbyte/Thinkstock)

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2. What’s the Question Customers Most Often Ask?

What should I get – 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.

(Photo: Jochen Sand/Digital Vision/Thinkstock)

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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.

(Photo: Jochen Sand/Digital Vision/Thinkstock)

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4. Don’t Trash the Packaging

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.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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5. Splurging On the HDMI Cable Is Pointless

The one you can buy for $10 online is just as good as the $100 one in the store.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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6. Save Your Money for External Speakers

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. Don’t Take the Risk

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.

(Photo: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Thinkstock)

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8. 3D TV is Just a Fad

Nobody is really making content for it, and you still have to wear the stupid glasses. We’re only pushing it because everyone already has a flat panel and we need to get you in the store.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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9. Adjust Your Picture Immediately After Purchase

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

(Photo: Hemera/Thinkstock)

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10. Today’s TVs are Made To be Replaced

Don’t expect your flat screen to be around forever. You’ll be lucky if it lasts five years.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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11. Thinner Isn’t Always Better

If you’re setting your TV on a piece of furniture, why are you paying a premium for the thinnest technology?

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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12. Read the Fine Print

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.



(Photo: Huntstock/Thinkstock)

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13. Don’t Overfocus on Getting the Best Resolution

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 very few stations broadcasting in a resolution that high.

(Photo: Hemera/Thinkstock)

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14. 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.

(Photo: Creatas/Thinkstock)

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15. Want a Great Deal?

Buy a refurbished set, a TV previously opened or returned. Check the warranty, though.

(Photo: Hemera/Thinkstock)

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16. Yes, We Mounted Your TV at the Right Height

The centre 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.

(Photo: Hemera/Thinkstock)

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17. 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.

(Photo: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Thinkstock)

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18. 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.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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19. 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 and YouTube to name a couple.

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20. Thing Twice Before Going Wireless

If you’re connecting your TV to the Internet, 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.

(Photo: Hemera/Thinkstock)

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21. Don’t Let Big Numbers Fool You

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



(Photo: Comstock/Thinkstock)