Brands: same old thing or is there really a difference?One of the biggest reasons people go to websites like this one is to research products, in this case, TV Brands, before you buy -- and kudos to your foresight. What often happens is that youre really looking for justification to buy that TV set youve already got your mind set on or youve already bought. Well, good news, the answer is yes. Yes, its a great brand, and yes you bought the right TV, provided its a brand you heard of before you walked into the store and you understand that you get what you paid for. Yes, you made a good choice.
Toshiba, Sony, Hitachi, Philips, Samsung, Pioneer, Magnavox, RCA, Sharp, Panasonic, Mitsubishi and so many more, all those brands you know have one thing in common. Theyre established brands and they take their space in the TV market very seriously. Each manufacturer has spent fortunes ensuring their brand is recognized worldwide as an exemplary product in their particular market space. If any one of these manufacturers had a run of TV sets that were clearly inferior, it would be the death of a brand theyve worked hard to establish.
So, the short story here is as long as its a brand youve heard of, youre getting what you paid for.
Revolutionary TV Brand Shopping Tip
A lot of people recommend you go out and do a lot of head to head comparison shopping, drive around looking at more and more similar models and compare image quality. Here is an alternate view, dont worry about all that stuff.
You already know you want a TV, now buy as good a TV as you can afford. Dont look at too many different TV brands comparing picture quality, and dont bother with comparison shopping (except for price of course).
If you want to look at TVs, consider how they look while the set is off. Dont look at the display when its on, dont try to compare picture quality between two sets in the store.
Dont even bother comparing things like the menu system navigation or even the feel of the remote control. Youll learn the menu systems, unless you have trouble with that sort of thing. Have a friend help you with it and leave it alone. Once youve learned the menu it doesnt matter whether its a Mitsubishi or a Samsung or a Sony.
As for remote control quality, if you spent more on the set, it should have a better remote, if you spent less its going to be a cheap piece of garbage. If you use a universal remote or have a surround receiver in a home theater system or a cable box, TiVo or satellite receiver youll rarely ever see the remote so who cares.
Why Comparing Picture Quality is a Waste of Time
Dont bother comparing image quality between two sets before you buy. Sure, decide if you really think HDTV is all its cracked up to be. Make sure you understand the difference between CRT, DLP, LCD, Plasma and LCoS and whether you can live with one or the others inherent limitations. But thats all the studying you need to do. Squinting to see the difference between a Discovery HD sunset in a Samsung DLP and the Sony Grand Wega next to it is a waste of your time.
Whether youre in Best Buy or the local TV boutique the picture is going to bear little resemblance to what youll have at home. At the big box store like Circuit City youre watching the picture at a bad angle by standing up and youre watching in a bright room. The set is inevitably going to have the contrast turned up all the way and the color settings are going to be completely out of whack. Looking at a set in this condition does more harm than good. The image source is probably poor. The DVD player is probably setup incorrectly, with progressive scan disabled. The TV stores cable box probably has its video signal split so many ways that the signal reaching any one TV will be so weak its going to look worse than anything youll get at home.
At the expensive TV boutiques itll be a different story. Theyll have a comfy couch for you to sit in, youll get to see a premium TV set in ambient lighting and it will look great. Theyll have a video source tweaked to perfection and it will probably look better than you might get at home.
Looking at a TV in one store and comparing it to a TV in another store simply doesnt work. For one, your perception of the TV in store A will be influenced by the SOB that cut you off and took your parking space. You know what all those CSI shows say about eye-witness testimony. You literally cant trust your eyes to make the right decision for you. If youre struggling between Toshiba or Sharp and the price, technology and format are the same, dont. You might as well flip a coin.
What you should concern yourself with are things like: Space you have to fit a new TV, the lighting in the room and how much control you have over it. Consider the angle at which the audience is likely to view the TV. Consider what your video sources are going to be. Will you watch mostly digital cable, satellite, video games or DVD? Most importantly, how much are you willing to spend -- these are all considerations when buying a new TV.
Learn what youre really in the market for then make a decision.
Budget Brands vs Rock Bottom Fly-By-Night Brands
Last important thing to understand about TV brands is the difference between budget and fly-by-night. When you venture into budget models like RCA, LG (formerly known as Goldstar) or all of Philips affiliates like Magnavox youre getting into budget territory. Thats why their TVs cost a little less compared to the other brands. It means theyre made with cheaper electronics and probably have shorter warranties. Dont expect these TVs to last as long or look quite as nice as the bigger name brands. You should probably just buy a smaller set or with fewer features to get a more reliable name than the budget models. In the right circumstances, you might find saving a bit on these sets is the right thing for you.
Watch out for brands with rock bottom prices or brands youve never heard of before walking into the store that day. Names like Viore and Apex make TVs on the cheap, and their low, low prices may shock you into buying. If accompanied by the right sales pitch you might even believe youre getting in on something new that nobody else knows about, or a best kept secret.
Dont buy the lie. Understand if you buy those brands youre getting a brand that doesnt have a reputation or an investment in research and development that the big TV brands have. Theyre not as likely to give you as long a life and their service and support are more likely to be shady compared to the big brands. Now, by shady we dont simply mean they put you on hold for a long time or dont get to your call right away. Apex has been charged with simply refusing to honor their customers warranties. Check into the better business bureau for details on any company you suspect of being a fly-by-night operation and avoid retailers that stock only these brands. Wal-Mart is an example of a retail outlet that will sell only the budget or fly-by-night TV brands.