Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The HDTV is on its way

After a final trip to Best Buy to check out the picture on a 65" Mitsubishi DLP and a couple other models, I finally realized that I would never really be happy with the picture on a DLP. Yes, I know some of you have DLP's of your own and swear by them, but I decided once and for all on Saturday that I was going with a flat panel. The viewing angle is better, you can mount it on a wall, and if I want to get a bigger tv for my living room a few years down the road, I can easily move it down to my basement or another room.

On Sunday, I did several hours of searching deals and reading and rereading reviews online and it came down to the very highly rated Sony KDL46XBR2 46" 1080p LCD or the Samsung LN-S5296D 52" 1080p LCD. Sonys run quite a bit more expensive then the Samsungs, so the 52" Sony was too far outside of my price range. Both had been extremely high on my list previously, but reading some angry posts on AVSForum about developing issues of "clouds" and uneven brightness gave me pause. However, more recent posts have had encouraging tales of people fixing the issues themselves. For those unwilling to fix it themselves, Samsung has been extremely responsive and has replaced sets with older manufacturing dates with newer ones with little pushback. Sony, on the other hand, has denied up and down the problem even existed. With all of this in mind, I decided once and for all that the Samsung was my tv.

Unfortunately there was the issue of price. When I set out on this HDTV quest, I had set a relatively firm budget of $3,000 for the set itself, which left room for other expenses like an extended warranty, Tivo Series3, HDMI cables, a power conditioner, and possibly an upconverting DVD player (I'm sitting tight on an actual high def player until the HD DVD vs Blu-Ray war is settled or prices for both come down significantly). The cheapest I could find the Samsung at a reputable online store was in the $3,400-$3,500 range. But I've always said I could justify away the The Rapture. *grin* In reviewing my financial situation, I realized that in my cautious delay on making the purchase, I had socked quite a bit more money away into my tv fund. I did some figure checking, and it added up. As a bonus, I'll still be able to pay my mortgage and can continue to avoid the all Ramen diet! Oh, and continue to save for retirement and have extra funds for a rainy day, blah blah blah. *grin*

So brace yourself. Here is the rundown. Is it polite to talk about specific dollar amounts? Eh...that's debatable, but I'm posting this in hopes that it will help others make a decision for themselves. I want them to know just what they're getting into financially, too.

I could have paid less for the television itself, but I decided to get it from newegg.com. I have purchased a lot of computer parts and equipment from them in the last 6 years, I know they are trustworthy, and they seemed to have the least outrageous prices on the extended warranty.

Samsung LN-S5296D from newegg: ~$3600
Shipping: ~$100
5 year extended in-home service/replacement warranty: ~$450
Tivo Series3 from DigitalHotBuy: ~$610
Shipping: ~$15
Geek Squad branded voltage regulating UPS from Best Buy w/ tax: ~$100
HDMI cables, two 4 foot cables: $12 (a guy I know who works for Best Buy used his employee discount to buy then--normally $60 each, or $120!!!!! Can't beat a 90% discount!!)

Total so far: ~$4887 (gulp!)

Despite having more than enough money on hand to pay this stuff off, suffice it to say that I will be taking a more miserly approach to spending until that credit card balance is zero! Just in case my hot water heater decides to crap out or my car decides to spontaneously explode in my garage.

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