It seems like an ancient, lost world now, but there was once a time when people bought electronics or appliances, and when they broke down, they hired someone to repair the item and kept using it. This may not sound weird and obsolete to you or to me or to reader Donna. Toshiba, on the other hand, certainly thinks that it’s not worthwhile to repair the television that she paid $1,800 for in 2007. She doesn’t want anything for free, and is willing to pay for parts and repair. Only the needed part isn’t available from Toshiba, or from anyone.
Sure, you should research purchases ahead of time, but discovering new things while shopping out in the real world can be fun. Reader HogwartsProfessor was browsing the electronics section at Walmart and had some questions about a Roku. Two associates told her that no, the devices only work if you have a wifi-enabled TV. This isn’t true, as she learned: the point of the Roku is that it is the device that streams Internet content to your TV.
If your HDTV set is malfunctioning you follow the advice most HDTV manufacturers put on their website, you can actually end up screwing yourself. Surprise, surprise. Here’s what you should do instead.
Headlines are blaring about the 1.6 million 40″ Sony Bravia TVs getting recalled for fire and smoke risk, but they’re overlooking a key fact. The recalled models were only sold in Japan. No recall has been issued in America. However, there are 400,000 models that were sold in the US that contain the same component that prompted the Japan recall. Here are the Sony Bravia TV model numbers you should check to see if you have.
I love photos of urban decay and reminders of the former functions of old buildings. TV repair shop signs, for some reason, can outlast the businesses they advertise by decades. It’s hard to pack a 60″ plasma screen in your SUV and take it to the shop. Repairs still happen, especially when they’re cheaper than the cost of a replacement TV. But our friends over at HDGuru tell us that the nation’s second-largest brand, Vizio, is quick to declare televisions “unrepairable,” even when a customer is willing to pay. Even for problems that other manufacturers are able to repair themselves.
You could drop $40-$70 on an indoor HDTV antennae, or you could make your own for a few bucks out of cardboard and aluminum foil. Since most TVs have built-in HD tuners, you can get local TV without paying for cable just by applying your DIY know-how. Reader Dave shares his instructions.
A Panasonic marketing executive says it’s Hollywood’s fault you don’t want to buy a 3D TV. If there were more Avatars and fewer Clash of the Titanses, he insinuates, you’d feel compelled to spring for the expensive products and their obnoxious accompanying glasses.
With seemingly everyone falling all over themselves to buy HDTVs at falling prices, it seems baffling that the number of American homes equipped with TVs dropped for the first time in nearly two decades. But that’s the result Nielsen has derived from its research. The firm announced the 2012 Advance/Preliminary TV Household Universe Estimate (UE) will be set at 114.7 million, slipping from the 114.7 million 2011 figure.
Thanks to steady price drops and ubiquity on store shelves, HDTVs have become the norm in American homes, entering 60 percent of households. Those who have gone the extra technological mile to don glasses and buy 3D TVs, though, are still a tiny minority.
On Black Friday, Rich attempted to give money to Dell to purchase a TV. He failed in this endeavor and Dell doesn’t seem to care, despite sending him 5 order acknowledgement emails.
They cut a slit in the back of the wrapping and then the guy got nervous and said “I left something in the car,” and booked. What had appeared to be a 50″ flat screen TV was actually plywood wrapped in black tape.
Steve’s TV buying experience with Target has not gone well. If he wants to try this a third time, the store is more than willing to let him, but they say he has to pay full price now and there’s still no guarantee a broken TV won’t show up on his doorstep.
Reader Wayne is an honest person. His Best Buy Insignia TV died and so, of course, he brought it back to the store. They kept it for a little while, decided they couldn’t fix it, and replaced it with a similar model. Then they forgot they did this.
The next time you go shopping for a new HDTV, keep in mind that the brightness and contrast settings don’t adjust brightness and contrast, and most of the fancier-sounding image quality controls don’t do anything except possibly degrade the image. Also, motion blur in live video is largely imaginary, which is good because advertised response times are highly exaggerated. And hey, that impressive “dynamic contrast ratio” the manufacturer is crowing about? Most of the extra contrasty goodness happens when there’s no image on the screen.
Hi-fi curious? PC Perspective has posted the second of 6-part series that walks you through every detail of setting up your own ideal home theater setup, from the planning to stage to source materials to speaker configuration. Future installments will cover setting up a home media server as well. And if you need help picking out the components, bro-site Consumer Reports has an interactive home theater system buying guide that can help. DIY! It’s more fun and if you know what you’re doing, can be cheaper as well.
Marnin would like some help from the Consumerist hive mind. He writes that his friend purchased a Proscan TV from a retailer that declared bankruptcy a week after the purchase. The TV, of course,
The man who said he’ll never buy another Vizio after his crapped out just a few months after his warranty ran out and would cost nearly half the purchase price to repair, says that after our post went up a gal in their customer service department called him and is “doing their best to rectify the situation.” He Jeremy writes on his blog, “This entire situation has taken an unexpected turn, which I will keep you abreast of in the days to come.”