Ian’s Opinionated Guide To Buying Gadgets and Other Stuff

This is it – my guide to buying (nearly) anything that you, my faithful reader, will probably find as interesting because we share the same brain wavelengths. The burning hallmark of every journalist is that he thinks his opinion is pretty important, whether it is true or not. Four years after leaving journalism, my ego still eggs me to tell people what they shouldn’t buy. I’ll be continuously adding fresh stuff after this line. Hopefully I won’t give up after a few entries. The whole idea is to provide simple answers to interesting purchases. Click on to follow me.

Buying HDTVs (10 Sep 2011)

I love the thin bezels of the new Samsung Smart TV, but the golden rule in HDTV purchases is that the price will be halved in a year or less. So I’ll wait.

Roger Ebert is a strong opponent against 3D movies, and never fails to diss it at the end of every 3D movie review that he writes. I stopped watching 3D movies after my first one, which happened to be James Cameron’s Avatar. It just wasn’t worth the premium to pay for a rather unclear visual experience, and as a photographer, I can tell  you there’s nothing like a 3D experience from a properly exposed and focused 2D image.

That shouldn’t stop you from buying a 3D HDTV though, because they are so cheap right now and aren’t that much more expensive when compared to a normal HDTV. What you should be looking out for are the following:

1. Reset the display unit in the shop to default settings (or get the promoter to help you) and judge the image for yourself. After all, the TV that you get delivered to  your house will be at default settings, and you have to be aware that the store’s display sets have all been tweaked in one way or another. Some people like saturated colors, others like a cooler image, so choose what you like.

2. Cabling can be a pain with some of the newfangled thin designs, so take a look at the rear of the television and ask yourself if there will be any issues in your home setup. No point getting a free TV mount when there is no way to hide the dangling HDMI cables.

3. Many HDTVs come with mediocre to poor sound reproduction when compared to old CRT sets. That’s because the thin designs can only accommodate mediocre speakers which you have to really pump the volume to hear anything. So make sure you test the audio properly unless you are planning to switch on your amplifier all the time.

4. The free surround sound bundles that you will get with a HDTV purchase are usually crap. So do think about getting a proper surround sound system (actually, stereo is more than sufficient in our small houses) from The Adelphi. You can read my Layman’s Guide To Better Audio.