TV Answer Man
3 Ways to Save Money While Buying a TV
ashington, D.C. (February 12, 2014) - Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. I am shopping for a new TV and I want to get the best deal possible. Do you have any ideas on how to save money while buying a new set? -- Lucy, Dallas, Texas.
Lucy, buying a new TV is a big decision and not one to be taken lightly. Depending upon which set you buy -- and where you buy it -- you might wind up spending hundreds of dollars more than you need to.
So, here are three ideas on how to save money while buying a new television.
1. Don't Get an Extended Warranty
For years, electronics stores have boosted their profits by selling extended warranties to TV shoppers, sometimes using fear tactics to make people think their sets will fall apart the day after the manufacturer's warranty expires.
But nearly every TV set comes with a one-year warranty on parts and a multiple-month warranty on labor. If the set is a lemon -- ready to collapse into a thousand pieces with a single touch -- you'll find out shortly after you bring it home. And if that happens, your manufacturer's warranty will cover any repairs.
Plus, some credit cards will extend a product's warranty for an extra year for free. Check with your credit card company before buying a store's extended warranty.
And, finally, TVs, even today's sleeker flat-screen sets, are built to last. The number of sets that need repairs in the first few years are estimated to be around five percent. That's not a high number. And, as we just noted, if your set does need a repair in the first year or two, it's likely it will be covered by your manufacturer's warranty plus your credit card's warranty extension.
2. Think Twice Before Buying a Smart TV
Smart TVs are very cool. Most of them include built-in WiFi so you can connect them to your home network and access your favorite streaming sites, such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.
But before buying a Smart TV, keep in mind that a comparably-sized non-Smart TV usually costs a few hundred dollars less. When you buy a Smart TV, you pay a premium price for it. Of course, the Internet access is a great reason why, but ask yourself if you already have the capability to access the Net on your TV at home. For example, you may already own a Blu-ray player or gaming console that can access the Internet. If you do, you can simply connect those to your TV and get the same streaming services.
There are some people who believe that a Smart TV offers a better streaming picture than a Smart TV device, such as Play Station 3 or 4 console, or the Blu-ray player. But is the slightly better picture worth an extra $200-300? That's a question you have to ask yourself.
This same philosophy holds for TVs that come with other add-on features such as 3D, motion control, etc. In most cases, these TVs cost more than other TVs with fewer features. If the add-on features aren't important to you, don't pay extra for them.
3. Buy Online
There's no doubt that you can get better deals online, although I must add that some retail stores are now promising to match an online price if you bring it to their attention. However, because a web site, such as Amazon or Tiger Direct.com, doesn't have the overhead of a retail store, particularly a large retail chain, it can sell many TVs at a significant discount. Sometimes the set will be $300-$500 cheaper or more.
If you are leery of ordering a TV through the mail, some sites offer special guarantees to ensure your set arrives in perfect working order. For example, most sets 50 inches or larger at Amazon come with this "Enhanced Delivery' guarantee:
"For this TV, we offer enhanced delivery through one of our specialty shippers. A representative of a common carrier will deliver your TV to any room suitable for testing, unpack it, ensure that it is working properly to guarantee no damage occurred during transportation, and dispose of all packaging material."
The other advantage of buying online is that you won't have to pay taxes in most states -- and you might get free shipping. Amazon, for example, offers free two-day shipping on many sets for its Amazon Prime customers.
One more tip: Walmart offers a service that if you order a TV online, you can have it shipped to your nearest Walmart store for pick-up. However, in some states, Walmart will add taxes to your order. Depending upon the set, that could add $100 or so to your bill.
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