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A Tale of Two Televisions

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It was the best of televisions, it was the 2nd best of televisions.

A friend called me up this past weekend with a dilemma. He was looking to buy a new television. It was Massachusetts' tax-free weekend and he was looking to take advantage and save a few percent. He said to me, (paraphrased)

Lazy Man, I have narrowed the choices down to two televisions both 46 inch LED TVs. One is a Samsung at $1500 and the other is a Sharp at $1000. The Samsung looks better...

I asked him about the Sharp television and he said it was the Sharp Aquos. You might have seen the commercials for the Aquos... they are the ones with the added yellow color. My friend and I joked for a minute or two about how yellow is a great color and it's an awesome step forward by Sharp to bring it into our living rooms. I could have sworn I had seen yellow on my television in the past, but I guess not.

After the joking, I told that I see buying televisions a little like buying a diamond. You put an D color diamond next to a G color diamond and the G will appear very yellow. However, if someone were to just hand you a G diamond you'd say, "That's a nice white diamond." I don't know anyone who comments on the whiteness of a diamond when it's on a lady's finger.

With televisions, you are going to bring it home and watch it without the point of comparison. I don't know about you, but as long as I have good size and high definition, I'm all set. I don't watch a Patriots' game and think, "You know this game would be better if I went with the other brand in the store."

With this in mind, I gave the following advice. Buy the Sharp Aquos (enjoying the world of yellow), and save yourself $500. Put that $500 in your television budget (yes this friend has budgeting down to a science) for when 3D televisions hit an attractive price point (and when there is enough 3D content to make it worthwhile). He agreed that I was probably the voice on reason on this one... especially since the Samsung was only about 10% better and not worth 50% more money.

I'm sure this isn't exactly an unbiased audience, but which television would you have gone with? Let me know in the comments.

Posted on August 18, 2010.

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13 Responses to “A Tale of Two Televisions”

  1. I would not have purchased either. At 46″, a plasma TV provides noticeably better picture quality, particularly at wide viewing angles and with fast motion content. People who see our 46″ plasma notice the difference immediately – no side by side comparison needed. The only problem area would be if the plasma TV would be used in a brightly lit room. OLED is also good but very pricey now.

  2. Money Beagle says:

    We just bought a 32″ Samsung for our bedroom and love it. There’s nothing about it I would change. The picture is great, it’s easy to use, changing inputs and options is a cinch, and the sound is great, something that a lot of people have complaints about with flat panels. I found a deal through Slickdeals where we paid $400 and it was worth every penny, especially considering it was paid for entirely through reward money paid back from our Citi Dividends credit card!

  3. A thousand bucks for a TV? Not me :)

    The two “big” TVs in our house are 27″ units that are about a decade old.

    I rarely focus 100% on TV. Usually, I am reading, writing, folding laundry, etc. Paying a premium for a higher quality experience doesn’t make much sense for me.

  4. mod20guy says:

    I did consider plasma. I really like it. However, it runs very hot, it uses a lot of power. Plus…I love how thin they are. When you mount this thing on the wall, it has less depth than many of my picture frames/mirrors.

    Now that I have the TV at home…I have no regrets for not spending the extra $400 on the Samsung. I took that money and used it to purchase a very nice wall mount for the TV on Amazon. Well, actually, the next day I also went out and spent $1800 on a new MacBook (I am pretty sure LazyMan will have a field day with my decision process on that one…cause I could have purchased a perfectly suitable PC laptop for more than 1/2 the price).

    I think I am gonna retire the credit card for a while… otherwise I may not be allowed to visit lazyman’s blog any longer :)

  5. jim says:

    I’d go for the Sharp model. Little better picture isn’t worth paying 33%/ $500 more for.

  6. And apparently mod20guy likes consumer credit. Shouldn’t have bought anything, especially an overpriced Macbook.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I know mod20guy very well. He earns points on his credit card and loves how it helps him budget his money (imports well into Quicken). He pays it off every month and never pays a finance charge.

      But I agree about not buying an overpriced Macbook.

  7. I’m also looking for a nice LCD T.V for the right price. I don’t know if I can hold til Black Friday since there are definitely hot deals with tremendous savings. Decision decision..

  8. I’m still using the old CRT tube TVs…

    I have been looking at the 50 inch Plasma TVs though. I remember when these types of TVs use to be $500 dollars more than the LCDs… How times have changed.

    I am curious how much more energy they use though (and how hot they get…). Time to google it :)

  9. crashdamage1957 says:

    We recently made our first TV purchase in over 23 years, replacing our old cathode ray tube box that finally bit the dust, with one of the new ( well, new for us) LCD slim jobs. We passed over the above $1000 sets as just stupid money to pay for a TV, and weeded through all the hype, marketing fluff and perception with some research and found that what does really make a difference in the quality of the picture is the “p” number; the higher the number, the better the quality. We went with the ~$600 32 inch Samsung with 1080p vs the `$500 720p model , because we felt the picture quality was well worth the additional $100. In fact, the 720 model’s picture quality didn’t seem as clear to me as the old CRT’s picture did. We cant really see how spending $1000 or $1500 will provide a better tv watching experience than the $600 set can, so i would say choose the size tv that best fits the room you will be watching it in, look for the best price you can find on a 1080p or better and buy that. Put the money you save on the TV into your favorite outdoor experiences budget and enjoy some fresh air ;)

  10. I definitely would have gone for something smaller. Most of my tv I already watch on my computer, so a television is almost an extra unnecessary expense. I’d be more tempted to just get a big computer screen that I can hook up my laptop to.

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