If you’ve been following the blog the last couple of days you’ll notice that I have been a little preoccupied with my search for a new television. I thought I had a nice Samsung 3D, almost every bell and whistle for $2000 when I wrote: Buying an Expensive Television and Dealing with a Moral Dilemma. However, it wasn’t to be. On big purchases, and $2000 qualifies for me, I like to take a little extra time to make sure that I’m comfortable with the value that I’m getting. On this purchase I waited too long and Amazon raised the price to around $2500. It was time to move on and look elsewhere for the right TV at the right price. My search took me to a number of places including Fry’s where I found that they hate customers.
My search ended this morning. Last night while I was looking in the FatWallet forums, I came across a deal on a 55″ inch LCD TV at Walmart for $749. It clearly isn’t going to compete with the Samsung that I had in mind. It isn’t 240hz. It isn’t 3D. It isn’t LED LCD. It is an Element, which sounds more like an ugly, boxy Honda than a reputable television brand. At least the ratings weren’t bad. I still wanted to sleep on it. I woke up this morning and found that the television had been lowered to $699. (If you are one of those people who use cash back and have the right credit card, you can save even more money.) That clinched it for me. I got the feeling that it might sell out sooner rather than later.
Why go for a television on the opposite end of the spectrum? I was talking to a friend and I believe that you can go two ways with technology. You can go biggest and best and try to stave off obsolescence as long as possible. Or you can live a little behind the curve and save some bucks. With the $2000 Samsung, I was planning on getting at least 10 years from that television. That might have been more than a little optimistic. However, even at that rate it would have been $200 a year (probably $260 if you get into warranties, tax, environmental fees, 3D glasses) and I’m not sure what kind of resale value it would have.
By going with the cheaper solution, I
walked typed out of Walmart’s online store for $876… which includes CA state tax (a killer that’s just a shade under 10%), CA waste tax (I don’t mind paying to keeping our environment clean), and an a 3-year extended warranty that starts a year after the manufacturer’s warranty. Having the problems that I have with my current set, I’m okay with paying $88 to guarantee me four years of peace of mind. That’s a little less than $220 for those four years, and I have a feeling that it will still have resale value if I want to upgrade at that point.
Am I going to be happy with the LCD instead of the LED LCD that looked better in the stores? That seems to be the biggest open question. My feeling is that I’ll be happy with it since the 1080p is going to be an upgrade over my current 1080i television. It’s been rare that I’ve upgraded and thought, “Man, this product isn’t good at all, I should have upgraded even more.” I also remembered a conversation I had with my friend when he told me a tale of two televisions… I told him to go with the cheaper one and put the money aside for the next television (or something else) in the future. So how could I not take my own advice. My budget for a television in more than four years from now, already has over $1200 in it. Come to think of it, that’s almost a mortgage payment right there. Maybe that’s a sign that I shouldn’t earmark the money towards a television in the future after all.