Here’s 4 good reasons to buy a high-def TV now instead of later. [SmartMoney]


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  1. skaudio says:

    Frankly, this sounds a lot like a tax-refund-time sales pitch than a particularly groundshaking set of observations.

    Reason 1: Your purchasing power is sinking and you’re about to have less money. So buy an HDTV?

    Reason 2: Upsets in the supply chain? Dubious, but nothing that a little more patience wouldnt solve. Again, the answer to economic troubles is to buy an HDTV?

    Reason 3: OLED is years away, so your only choice is going to be among competing HDTVs. So, instead of waiting for the competition to drive price down, you should…buy one right now?

    Reason 4: Old models are on sale. This is completely different than how it will be 6, 12 or 18 months from now, when next seasons models will be on sale. So buy now.


  2. ShortBus says:

    Advocating that people go out and buy a new, big TV *right now* isn’t “SmartMoney.” Now that my CCs are paid off (thanks for the extra cash, Uncle Sam!), I’ll continue to save up a down payment on a recently-made-affordable house… Or, I’ll hang onto that savings in case I get laid off. That’s SmartMoney.

  3. Toof_75_75 says:

    Already got mine…

  4. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @ShortBus: You obviously don’t love America. True Patriots spend spend spend.

  5. spinachdip says:

    @ShortBus: I think you misunderstood the point of the article. The operative phrase is “instead of later”, as in, if you’re in the market for an HD TV, then you should buy.

    Sort of tangentially related- conventional wisdom says successful companies spend through recessions (or in our case, it’snotarecessionSHUTUP!!!) while building cash reserves during good times. I wonder if that applies to consumers too.

  6. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @spinachdip: I’m affraid caplital structure is a little more complicated during that. Regardless, +1 for sounding like a Keynesian economist.

  7. acknight says:

    Any column that is heavily based on the semi-informed nonsense that Enderle gives as advice is a steaming pile of rubbish.

    Yes, there are several potential things in there – and the nothing new in the pipeline argument is potentially valid.

    But encouraging people to go ahead and buy a $600+ set now rather than “gimp along” with a $10-30 after coupon box and their perfectly fine current TV is both fiscally and environmentally irresponsible.

  8. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @HIV 2 Elway: NIce sentence, asshole. Scratch the “during.”

  9. CaptZ says:

    As the poster on SmartMoney posted, “Buy now because prices MAY go up?” Stupid reason IMHO. Sony announced price cuts coming across the board on HDTV to be more competetive, which means the other brands will come down as well……plus, most of us don’t NEED an HDTV at this time or even after the Feb switch over, since most of us have cable or SatTV. It is still optional at this point. I think SmartMoney is being dumb on this issue.

  10. My Sony TV will probably last until the Second Coming. I have no plans to replace it.

  11. Mr_D says:

    @CaptZ: If you read the article, they say that the digital changeover has nothing to do with HDTV. It’s a “might as well” situation.

    That said, their conclusion is questionable. I don’t buy the “nothing new” bit – manufacturers will always figure out ways to make the old stuff obsolete (and cheaper). Look at the “True HD” nonsense and the screen size race. Similarly, sales are a non-issue, they’ll always happen. And the bigger selection is overblown – there are plenty of TVs in the pipe (too many, if there are so many sales).

    The issue of China’s increasing costs is reasonable, but for TVs, I think it will be outstripped by decreases in cost through automation.

  12. spinachdip says:

    @HIV 2 Elway: Well, I realize it’s not as simple as:
    1) Wait for recession and spend, spend, spend!
    2) ???
    3) Profit!!!, and it depends more on sound financials and not overexpanding or getting caught in a price war, rather than a willingness to spend. But you could see an argument for it working for a consumer, right? Because interest rates are likely going to be higher during boom times, while there’s generally a buyer’s market during a recession. Of course, the last part is shot to shit with the increased cost of oil, but then again, I don’t see that dropping for the forseeable future.

    @acknight: Heh, I missed the Enderle quote. I thought he was just wrong about all things Apple. Is he right about anything, and does that mean a trained monkey can make a living as a technology consultant?

  13. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @spinachdip: Oversimplified ideal, says me, capital structure:

    Economy sluggish, low interest rates: debt finance new ventures.

    Economy strong, higher interest rates: use cash (economy strong, right?) to pay off debt. This also ties management’s hands and inhibits them from spending excess cash on bonehead ventures and mergers.

  14. Lambasted says:

    Very speculative arguments and won’t lead to an en masse run on HDTVs.

  15. Kerkira says:

    @Mr_D: I laughed when I saw that ridiculous statement (“Even though the new format has nothing to do with HD…”). DTV is the generic name for the ATSC standard, which supports both HD and SD formats. While it’s true that one does not have to buy an HDTV to receive digital television, they’re hardly orthogonal; HD is a subset of DTV.
    And as Enderle says, no one is selling SD-only DTVs.

  16. Orv says:

    So SmartMoney thinks HDTVs will go up in price over time, unlike every other piece of consumer electronics in history?

  17. edosan says:

    Agreed that buying something you don’t really need isn’t exactly “Smart Money.”

  18. squidbrain says:

    With electronics buying later is almost always better. You’ll almost always pay less in the future for the same technology available today. Once companies have recouped their research dollars prices go down. And if new technology comes out its almost always because that new tech is better and/or more efficient. The ipod is the perfect example.

  19. GearheadGeek says:

    @Orv: I think they’re worrying about a short-term rise in the price of new, imported models because of the fact that the dollar is in the toilet and showing no signs of significant improvement in the near future, not that the cost in real terms of producing HDTVs will go up. If the dollar stays this low, production of many things will gradually come back to the US. If the dollar recovers, imported things will become cheap again. Either way, it’s looking like it will take some time to unravel and imported good may be more expensive in the middle term.

  20. spinachdip says:

    @squidbrain: Your point makes sense (though not necessarily in the context of the linked article), but I’m not sure if the iPod is the best example.

    The price point has basically stayed the same for the top end model, at $250-$300, and until the iPod touch, there hasn’t been any significant advancement in the product beyond capacity and video/color screen (neither of which, strictly from my observation with me and my friends, has made a huge change in the user experience). Comparing the 2003 model and the 2008 iPod Classic, there just isn’t much difference in price or user experience. And unless a new release is looming (usually in the fall), there’s no point in waiting if you’re in the market.

    But back to the article, which I don’t completely agree with, but makes some valid points that I think some commenters are misunderstanding. In the short term, there *will* be an increase in price of goods in general and no advancement in technology to speak of. So if you have the money and you’ve been meaning to buy a new set, it’s not terrible advice.

    Though I’d take anything Rob Enderle says with a Costco-sized bag of salt.

  21. geoffhazel says:

    I keep seeing the prices drop and drop month after month. As the market gets saturated, prices will continue to drop.

    Now is always a good time to buy technology you want, and tomorrow is probably even better.

  22. lol_wut says:

    My 12 year old set just went out on me. [Standard-def, 27″]

    I didn’t want to go through the hassle of changing out my living room for a TV, so I hit Craig’s List and came across a listing for 16 month old “tube TV” that will likely last another 12 years barring any sort of disaster along the way.

    I’m fine with what I have. This is honestly the first set I’ve owned that has s-video and component in. I’m excited.

  23. jscott73 says:

    In case anyone was wondering craigslists also has HDTVs for sale, I picked up a 1.5 year old 52″ Mitsubishi DLP with new bulb and stand for $600. I would have bought the 65″ one for $300 that only needed a new bulb but my wife said it was too big… :(

    If it’s over $100 buy it off craigslist.

  24. squidbrain says:

    @spinachdip: I paid at least $250 for a 30gb ipod a few years ago. Now 250 buys my a better ipod (thinner among other things) and 50 more gb. If I was to buy a 30gb used ipod it would be less than $250. Ipod is a perfect example.

  25. spinachdip says:

    @squidbrain: Like I said, relatively minor improvements.

    Most consumers are happy with 20GB or less of music (remember that before the iPod mini was the most popular portable music player when it was discontinued), and while thinner is nice, it’s not something that’ll make a huge difference in experience, and certainly no reason to wait more than 3 months if you have your mind set on an iPod

    I see the increased capacity like resolutions in digital cameras – there hasn’t been a huge leap in technology, and mid-tier point-and-shoots have been around the $200 area for a few years. So for the most part, digicam manufacturers focus on megapixels since that’s something they can improve on year to year, but don’t make any appreciable difference to the consumer.

  26. KarmaChameleon says:

    Bleah, honestly the best time to buy an HDTV was back in February if you missed the sweet Black Friday deals. I got my 42″ Sharp Aquos LCD a week before the Superbowl for about $600 off regular price due to the Superbowl sale and price matching, and they knocked a bunch off it because I signed up for DirecTV at purchase (something I was going to do anyway). This was also when they were throwing Blu Ray players at people, and I ended up with a free $500 Sharp Aquos BD player. Nothing I really needed because I was planning on buying a PS3 (and did, as soon as I could track down a refurbed 60GB).

    If I were still in the market for one, I’d wait till this year’s Black Friday and get it online. Even with the stimulus specials the deals honestly are not that great right now. And I would point out to the Smart Money guy as well as commenters here that one person’s “minor feature” is another one’s dealbreaker. I couldn’t live without PC inputs on my TV. Playing Sims 2 from my couch rocks.

  27. poornotignorant says:

    @Kerkira: And as Enderle says, no one is selling SD-only DTVs.

    I’m not sure that’s true. Kmart is selling (about $200 for 20″)a tv that has a digital tuner without high definition. Is that a SD-only DTV?