Should You Buy a Demo HDTV?
Before you buy, consider the lifespan of a TV that stays on all the time at full brightness, the accessories that get tossed, the quality of the new sets vs. the old, and more.
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April 07, 2010 by Julie Jacobson

Retailers are clearing out their HDTV inventories to make room for the 2010 models, which are coming out in a burst, rather than the typical steady stream.

Should you go for a deal on an older model or wait for a shiny new one?

HD Guru Gary Merson breaks it down:

TV Improvements
On the larger LCD and plasma screens, the improvements are fairly substantial in terms of quality, connectivity and of course 3D.

“If you are looking for a higher end model or want 3D (all 40″ and larger), we recommend going for a 2010,” Merson writes.

Wear and tear
The one thing that tends to wear out on TVs is the light source. TV makers give us the specs for lifespan, but not for the life of a TV that’s on all the time at full brightness, as they would be on the retail floor.

Merson has some fancy tools for checking the age of a TV, figuring out its age and determining its lifespan.

Where’s the box?
Merson divulges this dirty little Best Buy secret, and apparently they’re not too happy about it:

Many retailers (including Best Buy) demo larger flat screen sets on the wall, which makes retailing sense. What doesn’t make sense is Best Buy’s wasteful and environmentally irresponsible policy of discarding cartons, packing materials, owner’s manuals, cables, accessories and, incredibly, sometimes even the remote controls and table stands!

Should you buy a demo?
Ultimately, Merson recommends against it for many reasons. Instead, he suggests this:

HD Guru recommends purchasing a new factory sealed closeout model if it’s at a substantial discount or go for a 2010 model. A demo unit should only be considered if you do not need to purchase replacement accessories and are offered a 40% discount (offer to pay less to the Best Buy store manager, who has demo price discretion)  and even then only buy after you’ve checked the TV’s age and verified there’s no screen burn-in, scratches, chips, scuffs or bulb burnout.

For more details, visit HDGuru.com

 

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Julie Jacobson - Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

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