I’ve got a confession to make. I’m obsessed with a television. How obsessed? Let me explain and maybe you can tell me if you’ve felt the same way (perhaps about something different.)
I’m going to be switching persons from “I” to “we” even more than usual in this article. As the technology person, I am usually the buyer of new technology.
The beginning of my obsession started back in 2010. I had been extremely interested in a top-of-the-line Samsung. This television had all the important things I knew I needed in a television. It was 240hz and even supported 3-D. I was going to get that Avatar experience in my home. However, I missed the bargain price of $2000. Rather than spend $2500, the new price, I went with a $750 WalMart brand one. As I wrote back then, “It isn’t 240hz. It isn’t 3D. It isn’t LED LCD.” Ha!!
I got it with the intention of having to replace it in a few years. I decided to look at it as the price per year that we’re paying for the television. For example, let’s just say my budget for a television was $250 a year. At $2500, I’d be committing to the Samsung for 10 years. At $750, I’d be committing to the WalMart one for 3. At the time I wrote, “My budget for a television, in more than four years from now, already has over $1200 in it.” (The difference between what I wanted to spend $2000 and what I actually spent, $750.)
We’re still watching that Wal-Mart television. Since it is more than seven years later, we’ve ended up paying close to $100 a year for it. As my wife likes to say when I throw out a sock with a hole in it, “It doesn’t owe us anything more.”
However, I still haven’t gotten started on my obsession…
Budgeting for the Next Television Revolution
Back in 2006 or so, I saw the most amazing piece of technology I’ve ever seen. I’ll never forget it. I was one of the old Sony Style stores and they had a television. I think the screen was only 13-inch, but it was jaw-dropping. The price was $2,500. It was the first television I’ve ever seen using OLED technology. You can watch a 2008 video of it here. That doesn’t do it justice, but it was a bigger difference than comparing high definition to standard definition.
It would be quite a few years before OLED was commercially viable.
In September 2014, I wrote about budgeting for the next television revolution. That revolution was 4K OLED television. Specifically, I wrote, “I’m holding out for the 4K version. It looks like that is coming this month and it will be 65 inches for $7,000. It will probably 2-3 years before that television gets to the $2,500 price point. This is perfect. It gives the industry time to upgrade their video streams to 4K. Not only that, but it gives me time to put some money aside each month as the technology gets cheaper.”
Back then I also mentioned the following about my current television, “… in three more years, I’ll have paid around $100 per year and feel in a position to upgrade.”
Fast forward, to October 2015, I wrote Buying a Television? Read this first…. In that article, I covered the historical pricing OLED televisions. I noted that a 55-inch 1080P OLED screen was $15,000 in August 2013. By waiting 2 years, you could get a 55-inch OLED for $3,000. The price dropped $5000 and the product got much better. I included this chart of OLED prices:
|August 2013||1080P (HD)||55"||$15,000||NBC News|
|September 2014||1080P (HD)||55"||$3,000||Lazy Man|
|September 2014||4K||65"||$7,000||Lazy Man|
However, I realized that most people weren’t really looking to $3000 or more on these televisions. Thus my main focus of the article was to warn people not to pay for 4K in a 55-inch television because most people’s eyes couldn’t detect the difference from a reasonable distance. It makes more sense in bigger televisions such as 70-inch ones. Even then, it wasn’t clear which movies you’d be able to watch in 4K. I noted that experts were predicting that HDR technology was looking more revolutionary.
In October 2016, I even set up a budget with Dobot where a little money got taken out of my account every few days:
“I created a simple goal, ‘OLED 65’, ‘November 2017’, ‘$2500.’ The most difficult part was trying to figure out what the cost of the television will be when I think it is a good value to buy. I’m not sure if the good value is $2500 as I like to find a rare bargain. I think that there might be a Black Friday deal next year with that rare bargain.”
Sound the trumpets!
This all brings us to the present day, November 2017.
My price prediction for the 65-inch OLED from 2014 and 2016 were both $2500. There are numerous Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals for it around $2100-$2250. Though it’s still a lot of money, it’s actually a great price. As CNET says, now is the time to buy.
However, the military online exchange has a Cyber Monday deal with the coveted LG OLED 65″ 4K televsion for a penny under $2000. If you aren’t military, there are a lot of deals for the same television for around $2200. Amazon, as one example, has the LG 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV at $2269 as I write this.
(I believe the deal is still active if you are military.)
This checks off all the boxes for me. It’s cheaper than I thought it would be. I actually have a rare opportunity to get a better deal (thanks to my active duty wife). There’s a concensus that this is the right time to buy…
… but my current television still works.
Breaking Up is Hard to Do
It’s been hard to break to up with the WalMart TV. It still does the job… more or less*.
Then again, a 2000 Honda Civic may still do the job, but sometimes it’s worth moving on.
In this case, we’ve moved to a new house. The room is larger, which means that the picture appears smaller. When watching something like football, it matters because you are trying to read the numbers on players shirts that are significantly zoomed out.
Also, when we go over to our parents’ houses it’s obvious how much better their televisions are. My wife’s father’s Samsung caught both my wife and my attention and he said it was from 2013.
Finally, we are looking to mount the television to the wall. I’m not particularly handy, so I’m going to outsource the job to a handyman. I’d rather not have it done twice in a year or two. While I could probably buy a bracket that would hold my old TV and the new one, they are different enough in size and weight that I’d rather not risk it. This allows us to move forward and do it once, and do it right. Mounting the television on the wall opens up a lot of space and allows us to do some different things with the room.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a good place for the old WalMart TV. Fortunately, it looks like it might be worth as much as $250 on Craigslist. If we can give it a new home and lower our out-of-pocket price on the new television that’s a win-win.
So What Do You Think?
Buying technology is always tricky. Everyone knows it is going to be obsolete at some point, sometimes even soon. However, you can just sit on the sidelines forever. I try to look for quantum gains of improvement at a reasonable price. In this case, I got OLED, bigger size, HDR, and 4K. Whether the price is reasonable is subjective. It feels reasonable in comparison with where the prices have been. It may not be reasonable if you were just looking for any 65 inch television with 4K and HDR.