Good news: You're about to get a brand new TV! Bad news: You have to sort through the jargon and the hype of actually buying a new TV. There are always new features and capabilities to contend with, from the industry's refusal to stop talking about 3D, to questions about 4K televisions and OLED screens. Some of the confusion is probably intentional – TV-manufacturers want to arm salespeople with new terminology to justify upgrades and higher prices for premiums choices. So let's cut to the chase and talk about the options and specs that really matter, and some that don't. Here's our no-nonsense advice for buying a great TV, minus the buyer's remorse.
Beware House Brands
We have nothing against cheaper HDTVs. Vizio, for example, makes consistently low-priced and well-performing flatscreens. But when a salesperson (or sale) points you in the direction of a TV brand you've never heard of, do some digging. Because house brands can be a horrible investment. The number of HDMI inputs is often prohibitively low, and with the Insignia set that we've tried (a Best Buy house brand), one of the two HDMI inputs suddenly stopped working with certain devices, such as a PlayStation 3. The durability of these bargain-bin sets is generally low, and where it really counts – HD picture quality – they almost always fall short. There are diamonds in the rough, no doubt, but with great deals to be found on older TVs from established brands, why bother?
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