Unless you have an unlimited budget, here’s what you should avoid when shopping for an HDTV in Singapore.
Is the museum knocking at your door, asking for you to donate that TV set? Do your neighbours come over, peek at your TV, and ask if Nixon was the US President when you bought it?
It’s time for a new High Density Television (HDTV) set. Unlike your TV set of old, an HDTV displays crisp, clear images with far more detail. They are also wider to closely match the human eye’s peripheral vision, creating a more comfortable viewing experience.
With hundreds of options available at different price points, you want to find one that isn’t ridiculously overpriced. Here’s what NOT to do when you buy an HDTV in Singapore:
1. Buy a 4K TV When a 1080p Will Do
A 4K TV meets a standard called “Ultra High Definition”, with eight million active pixels. Even putting your face up to the screen, you’d be hard pressed to spot pixel edges. A 1080p is regular “High Definition” TV, which most people have in their homes right now.
Singaporeans used to quibble over whether ultra-high is better than high definition, and whether it was a worth price difference of over S$500. Today however, 4K TVs have become a lot cheaper. Samsung and Sony, for example, have 4K models that are well below S$1,000. As such, the general consensus is that you should get a 4K TV.
But if you’re on a budget, there’s a chance a 1080p can shave a few dollars off the cost. You should also note that, on small TV sizes, the 4K effect will simply be lost. It’s better to pick 4K for larger screens.
2. Assume That Bigger is Always Better
Bigger TVs are more expensive, but that doesn’t make them better. In fact, having a TV that is too large can cause strain and fatigue on the viewer over long periods.
First, calculate the distance between your seating area, and the TV.
Now for a 1080p TV, the ideal sitting distance is 2.5 times the diagonal length (upper right corner to lower left corner) of the TV. For a 4K TV, the distance is about 1.5 times this same length.
So based on the distance between your seating area and the TV, you can find the approximate size that matches your needs. Anything larger will be a waste of money.
3. Pay for an Expensive Wall Mount and Installation Fees
If the store tells you that the wall mount and installation are free, that’s great; but be sure to check the pricing online, or in other stores. Some shops price the cost of mounting into the TV set itself, and then claim it’s a free service.
To save money, press for a discount on the wall mount and installation costs. Many stores will not want you to walk out due to the “low” cost of mounting.
4. Splurge on HDMI Ports and Other Gimmicky Features
Before considering features like how many HDMI ports the TV has, ask yourself what you need. If you don’t have so much as an Xbox to plug into it, what’s the point? You only need two or four for basic devices, like a DVD player.
Also consider the relevance of Internet streaming (so you can watch YouTube on TV), and 3D effects. Decide how important these features are to you before paying for them.
Do you really need to watch Jenna Marbles on HDTV? Or watch your movies in 3D (which reduces the screen resolution by the way)?
Skimp on the extras if you all do is watch cable TV.
5. Use an Instalment Plan Instead of Earning Cashback
For big ticket items like a high priced TV, use a cash rebate credit card with unlimited cashback. There’s no point getting just S$50 out of the transaction.
Try the American Express True Cashback Card, which gives 3% cashback on the first S$5,000 you spend during the first 6 months. If you can meet the S$80,000 annual income requirement, the ANZ Optimum World MasterCard gives 5% unlimited cashback on retail spend.
We recommend you repay the full amount, rather than use your credit card instalment plan. Note that the entire sum is charged to your card when you buy, not only the first instalment (you pay instalments to the bank, not the seller of the TV). This will affect your maximum credit ceiling.
6. Buy an HDTV with OLED Technology
Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) is a new approach to TV screens. Most TVs today use Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology.
OLED has a more consistent lighting effect, whereas LED TVs tend to be disproportionately brighter in some parts (they are either back lit, or lit around the edges). OLED also provides better contrast: if a scene is filmed in a dark haunted house for example, the OLED screen will display it better than the LED screen.
But OLED is expensive, because it’s a cutting edge technology. Very expensive: expect to see numbers like S$10,000.
Remember when plasma screens first came on the market? They too were priced the same way. In just over five to seven years, the prices came plummeting down – and today they are obsolete. OLED might go the same way.
There’s a difference in quality, but not several thousand dollars worth of difference.
7. Pay for a Lifetime Warranty at a Sketchy Store
In many cases, the warranty on the TV is from the store selling it, not from the TV’s manufacturer. So if your Samsung breaks, Samsung will not be the one fulfilling the warranty – the store you bought it from has that responsibility.
For this reason, you should purchase lifetime warranties only from Harvey Norman, Courts, and other well-established chain. Remember, the warranty is useless if the shop closes down.
Alternatively, you may want to buy extended warranties only if is a manufacturer’s warranty (this may not be possible for certain brands).
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By Ryan Ong
Ryan has been writing about finance for the last 10 years. He also has his fingers in a lot of other pies, having written for publications such as Men’s Health, Her World, Esquire, and Yahoo! Finance.