Knowing how to strike when the iron is hot is a skill in and of itself. Doing so can help you save money, get the most bang for your buck (or ‘best value’, as people would say in a far more normal way), and maybe even get your dream purchase (be it one of the best 75-inch TVs out there) without having to break the bank.
It might seem complex – daunting, even – given the wide range of possibilities out there, each more enticing than the next.
Even though all the marketing and all the manufacturers promise similar things, such as “now-improved” contrast, real-life-like color production and stunning picture detail, further questions arise bountifully.
HD or Ultra HD, is the difference noticeable? If 4K is the best, why is there a subcategory of the “best” 4K TV in that category? Do you need to consider yourself with all the “latest” technology that, suspiciously, only one brand of TV seems to be promoting?
Not to mention, if you get it ‘wrong’, meaning that you mull over all of this but then come to regret your choice, it’s something that’s going to be very hard to take back.
A lot of this information overload forces consumers into the arms of high price tags that seem to signal that you’re giving away your money in exchange for not having to worry about these “little things”.
However, with precaution, deliberation, and reading this very article right now, you can save hundreds of dollars just like that.
Let’s get going and get you that mega-awesome television you want, without having to pay the first price you’re given right off the bat.
Big Buy or Buy Branded?
Popular consumer and money expert Clark Howard (also a recipient of a Golden Palm Star on the Walk of Stars in Palm Springs, California, to back up the “popular” prefix) explains – when talking of the various options between different brands of televisions – that many consumers don’t know much of how brands often have different names for the same technology, and this makes comparing one model or brand to another quite tricky.
For example, different brands have different labels for their own take on Quantum Dot Technology. Quantum Dot Technology utilizes small particles (quantum-like) to enhance the colors of a TV set, making the reds redder and the greens greener in particular.
This not means that LEDs using Quantum Dots aren’t quantifiably better than OLEDs, since they’re different technologies, but also that different companies are selling the same technology under different names, such as QLED or ULED, to make it sound similar to OLED.
OLED, to explain through difference, stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode, which makes for the picture on your television set having better contrast and being easier on the eyes, given that each individual pixel on the screen is controlled individually. This means each pixel can be dimmed, brightened, and “turned off” wherever needed.
It’s a completely different thing than Quantum Dot Display once you get even a tertiary understanding (as you just did!) but it’s still perplexingly similar to the average consumer owing to the marketing strategies and same-naming gimmicks.
Hence, the technologies can be the same, even in new entrants to the market, but brands will have you chasing ULED or QLED, not knowing that QLED or ULED (respectively) might be the same thing, if not better.
The Best Time to Buy a TV
The market, as well as the economy, goes through all sorts of complicated-sounding cycles of seasonality and cyclical variations. What this means for us, the consumers is that there are times when it’s best to save up and times when it’s the perfect opportunity to buy what you need.
This is not just something that exists in theory. The day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, see television sets going off the shelves for as much as 50% off their original prices.
All the major retailers compete reactively and in real-time for the lowest prices, meaning you’d do well even if you’re just buying online, since those businesses don’t want to lose out on their market share to the brick-and-mortar stores either.
Some manufacturers even create special “derivative” sets specifically for Black Friday, meaning you’d get something cheaper but possibly quite bare-bones. It’s good to check the model numbers on days such as this, lest you end up buying a TV and then have to stumble around trying to find a TV antenna amplifier to go with it.
Other similarly suitable times include the months that traditionally make up the TV release cycle (beginning March or April) when last year’s sets start seeing a closeout that can extend into the summer, meaning discounts on nearly brand-new TV sets as new models are introduced and priced ‘exclusively’.
Websites such as CamelCamelCamel and Google Shopping can also help out in tracking prices across different months.
Another time to go out TV shopping is Super Bowl season (January-February) with people gearing up for the playoffs and retailers and manufacturers trying to keep inventory moving and attract sales from sports fans – experts say 49-to-65-inch sets see the most discounts during this time!
The Top Tips for TV-buying
Keep your mind on the following as you go out into the world with the aim of coming back with a brand-new TV for yourself.
- As we’ve established, don’t let the big brands fool you into overspending. You can go up a TV size in the same budget by just accounting for the pricing differences between brands.
- Prefer doing your shopping in-store. Make sure your purchase is final and satisfactory by seeing it in person. Preferably, you should compare prices online and have a strong grasp of what you want and for how much through online research, but then go out to buy it.
- Ask for price matching policies. These are a customer’s friend in a massively competitive market.
- The full HD 1080p still remains the most popular TV set today. Make of that what you will.
- Know where the TV will be placed in your house, apartment, or room. The best TV might not be any good without the maximum viewing angle relative to your own environment.
- Look for the following in your potential purchase: HDMI inputs, composite video inputs, USB ports (as we move towards everything being “smart”), and RF/antenna inputs.
- Don’t spend your hard-earned cash on something with less than a 50Hz refresh rate. Avoid frustration and regret down the road with this one.
Finally, we recommend full-array with local dimming when it comes to the display, just because it’s better.