November 09, 2007 by EH Staff
ProjectorPeople.com specializes in, you guessed it, selling projectors online. We asked company VP of Internet marketing Kelly Lamison and Internet content manager Jennifer Andrews for advice on shopping the web for a projector this holiday season.
When someone decides to go the online route for purchasing a projector, what should head his checklist of steps?
Determine must-have features - When searching for a deal you will most likely need to make a compromise in one way or another. Usually you get what you pay for, but you may come across a deal so tempting you forget to consider your actual need. For example, you may find a native 1080p display at a great price, and come to find that there are no digital inputs, that it is actually a native 4:3 aspect ratio, the video processing may have noticeable lag, or some other catch. By establishing your list of “must haves,” you can help save you from jumping on a stinker in a deal’s clothing.
If you are buying a projector, you should determine the following based on your needs before you start shopping seriously.
- How large do you want your image to be? (Usually 92-inches or larger. Projector throw distance will factor in here.)
- What resolution you do you need or want? (Do you want HD? 720p or 1080p?)
- Which inputs are compatible with your current setup? (Do you have HDMI or component video on your DVD player? Do you need s-video?)
- Are you really ready for HD? (You will need an HD source to go truly HD. Is your cable box or DVD player HD?)
Shop for prices both online and in the store - Some big-box stores will have a great price on a particular product, but they usually have average prices on most items and don’t offer all items. But when there’s a deal, you get immediate gratification. You also have a face to complain to if there is a problem. Online stores often offer price breaks on more products than the big-box stores, but don’t give you the luxury of seeing the product in person. You also might save yourself the sales tax if you purchase from an online store operating outside of your state of residence. You might have to pay a shipping expense, but many sites offer free ground shipping (projectors don’t weigh as much as LCD or plasma TVs and cost less to ship). When you order online, you won’t have a face to complain to if there’s a problem. You’ll have to express your concerns over phone or email. Just remember, the lowest price is not always the best value.
Purchase at the right time - Rebates usually end at the end of a month, and sales cycles in the U.S. are also typically on a monthly cycle too. Even if the sales people you are working with aren’t commissioned, end of the month sales goals are pretty typical, and may give you leverage for a better deal. Of course if a product is very popular, you may have to take it when you can get it.
Check your credit card limit - Be sure to check your credit limit before you place an online order for a big screen display. Many credit cards have limits on the amount you can spend in a day. If you don’t get approval ahead of time you may have to wait for the company to contact you before your order is shipped, which may mean the difference between enjoying your new big screen this weekend or next.
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