A few weeks ago, our television started to fail on us. The bottom half of the screen went completely black. In doing a little research it seems that the Philips plasma television we have has a known issue where one of the video cards can get overheated an fail. The fix is to turn off the television for a few minutes and let it cool down. If you are watching a show on DVR, that's no big deal. In fact, a lot of shows can be watched quite well even if you just have the top half the screen. What isn't watchable though? Sports. You are getting literally only half the action.
It was time to look into fixing what we have or gettings something new. However, this presented a bit of a dilemma.
When I bought the Philips, I purposely bought from Costco. Usually with big purchases, I do a lot of shopping around and comparing. That time, I didn't. At the time, Costco had one of the best return policies in the business. If the television broke the company would refund your money in full. It didn't matter when either. You don't get better peace of mind than that.
You can probably see where I'm going with this. I now have a failed television. It is a known defect. Though the television is four years old, I can bring it back to Costco and get a full refund. Plasma's were expensive back then, so it isn't exactly chump change. However, returning the television feels wrong. With that cash back, I could simply walk back in the store and buy a much, much better television set as the technology has advanced. Costco could send it back to Philips, fix the card, and then try to resell it, but refurbished it is probably only worth a $300-$400 or so in today's market.
On the other hand, I feel that when you spend more than $2500, you should get more than 4-5 years out of the television. My mother has a 40" tube television (Fisher brand, if they still exist) in her bedroom that we bought for around $750 in around 1985. It still works fine. She says the remote control has an issue with one of the buttons, but that is it. It would be crazy for me to expect all televisions to last for 25 years. There's got to be some middle ground between getting a year of television for $500-$600 (the Philips) and the $30 a year (the Fisher).
Furthermore, if I return the television how much am I taking advantage of Costco. They were the ones that had a lot of smart people decide on a return policy... and it was that return policy that got them the sale in the first place.
I've decided that I will return my faulty television for a refund and buy a new one. It wasn't an easy decision. I will admit that the decision got a little easier when I looked at a Samsung UN55C7000, 55-Inch 1080p, 240Hz 3D LED HDTV. It is an improvement over my current television in terms of screen size, resolution (1080p vs. 1080i), and refresh rate.
While I wasn't initially looking for 3D capability, I decided to look at it in person. I have to admit that it is a game changer. I'm not going to put it with the advances of color or HDTV, but it is a noticeable improvement. It seems like every movie now has a 3-D version. Select sports are being broadcast in 3-D. I don't see it going away any time soon. It doesn't seem smart to lock myself into a television for the next 10 years that doesn't have 3-D capability... and it doesn't hurt that the Samsung has a great television that works well for 2-D.
Update: I had this post scheduled a couple of days ago, but I decided to wait to get reader reaction before pulling the trigger on the television (maybe someone had a better deal). Amazon is no longer selling it themselves... and the supplier is now charging $500 than it was just a couple of days ago. Maybe I'm stuck with my current television a little longer. Or maybe I scratch the wonders of 3-D and save myself some money.
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