I'm still in shock after TV shopping this past weekend. Who knew that HDTVs were so expensive? (I realize that the correct answer here is everyone. Cut me some slack, OK?)
I expected a new TV to be moderately expensive. Kyle found some nice Samsungs on Amazon priced in the $600 – $900 range. Although I can't say I love those prices, they certainly don't surprise me.
But that was just the beginning.
On Sunday, we visited an electronics store to see the TVs in person. That's where we learned about a vast array of upcharges that are required to properly install and enjoy your new TV.
You need to buy special cords and a surge protector, of course. If you're hanging your TV on the wall, a mounting bracket is required. Oh, and you should really consider hiring a professional installer to hide the special cords behind your wall. If you're not hanging your new TV on the wall, you need to buy an HDTV stand — most of which look like bizarre, futuristic technology shrines.
Then there's the calibration fee.
Call me crazy (or maybe just out of touch), but I figured that an $800 HDTV would arrive ready to watch. Oh no! Apparently, the manufacturers don't calibrate the colors because — according to our sales guy — "they want to save on production time to bring down costs for the consumer."
Um...yeah. I'm sure that's it. Because a manufacturer doesn't pay a third-world factory worker to properly configure the TV, an electronics store can pass on the saving to me...in the form of a $200 calibration charge.
And don't even get me started on planned obsolescence. I asked the guy how long we should expect to own our new HDTV. He said they're built to last for "decades." (I couldn't help but imagine our grandchildren gathered around our ugly TV shrine in 2040.) Then I asked how long his many HDTVs had lasted him. The answer: an average of 3 years (with some duds burning out almost immediately). Naturally, he used this opportunity to tell us about the extended warranty program. Nice.
So now we're at a crossroads. Do we really want to spend more than $1,000 on a TV? Seriously, a TV? Even if we can afford it, is that where we want to "invest" right now? (I'm asking you!)
After all, a lot of people are giving away decent old TVs on craigslist right now. We have a converter box.
5 weeks ago