Monday, March 31, 2008

HDTV: What a SCAM!

I’ve been having to price digital TVs of late… my old one is over a decade old and beginning to show its age.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice 38” old-fashioned TV. Weighed a TON. It’s a bitch to carry, and I had to help carry it up a hill and up a flight of stairs to move it to my apartment. It was on discount, and we didn’t know why until I tried to plug in some external speakers and found out that one of the jacks were dead. But other than that, it was a great system. Picture-in-picture option (when the remote buttons worked), multiple input options, S-video and digital audio where available (back then those were brand new options), surround sound audio (when available of course). It’s a nice TV and it would STILL be a nice TV if not for the fact that the on-screen displays are screwed up and the remote that is heavily tied into the TV functions has lost some of the essential buttons.

And now the color is starting to go away on it. When you turn it on, everything has a red tint to it that sometimes stays there for several hours, no matter what you do to try to fix it. Then when the TV corrects itself, everything comes out greenish-blue because you’re used to seeing the red hue.

Yup, it’s time to get a new TV set.

And now I’m running into a REAL case of sticker shock!

I start pricing TV sets, and I’m finding that pretty much every store I go to wants me to spend at least $1000 or more on a TV set that is SMALLER than the one I have right now!

Bear in mind that my 38” TV set when I got it in 1995 cost about $550 and it was at the time considered state-of-the-art! Today you’re lucky if you can find a 30” HDTV system for slightly more than that! And you have to dig for those, because the stores don’t want you to find those TV sets. They want you to see the ones that cost you $2000 or more!

Oh, you want something affordable? Well we have some 19” HDTV sets for $600 for you. How about it? We’ll even arrange financing!

And all I can think of is…


Why is it a scam, you ask? Well try this…

You can get a PlusTV video converter for about $90 at your local computer store that can turn a computer monitor into a TV set. No computer needed, just the monitor and some speakers. So you go to Best Buy or Wal-Mart or Fry’s or whatever your local store is that sells computer monitors, and you buy a 19” widescreen monitor for $200 along with the video converter and a pair of $20 speakers.

Total price: $310

I just cut the price of a 19” TV IN HALF!

Better yet, the computer stores are DYING to get rid of widescreen computer monitors, so you can get a LARGER widescreen monitor and even at $400, I just saved you half the cost of the HDTV!

So why do these stores think that we should pay that much for a little itty-bitty TV set? It’s really not worth it.

Look, if I’m going to get a TV set, I’m not going to get one that is the same size as my computer monitors. And I don’t have $3000 at my disposal. If I did, I would spend it on something more meaningful than a 50” TV. If I won the lottery or got my best-selling book published and I was looking at building my dream home with the theatre room, THEN I’d consider getting those 72” screens.

But for now I guess I’ll just have to keep on looking and hoping for some economic SANITY to hit the TV market.