Should I Assume All HDTVs Self-Destruct And Just Buy Something Crappy?

Brendan has a question for the Consumerist hive mind. He wants to buy a large-ish HDTV, but isn’t sure that his usual method of buying technology–buy the cheapest thing he can get his hands on, and count on it not to break for a year or two–will work at these price points.

I’m currently in the market for a cheap HDTV. Honestly, the real appeal to me is the space-saving feature of the flat screen. My usual practice with electronics is to buy the cheapest thing I can find and hope it lasts for a year or two. In the past, I’ve purchased the cheapest DVD player walmart offered and it turned out to be pretty good. I once bought a $35 Craig DVD player from the grocery store and I had to pause the movies halfway through to let the sound catch up to the video. More recently, I bought a KWorld media player which stopped working via coax output and is prone to overheating. I’m not too upset by pissing away less than $100 on something kind of crappy as long as it lasts for a while – even if that means some modifications or maintenance on my part. However, I’m not prepared to drop $800 on a 50″ plasma that won’t last until Christmas.

My question to you is this: Should I just go to Walmart or Best Buy or Stop and Shop and pick up the cheapest thing over 32″ that they have or should I spend the extra $100 on something that will outlast the technology with which it was built?

I did exactly the thing Brendan describes–I bought a Vizio on clearance at Walmart, of all places. I’m happy with my decision, but it’s only been a few weeks. Most of you have probably owned large, flat televisions for much longer, though, so share your wisdom with Brendan.

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