The rise of 3D is a blessing for bargain hunters, because it’s helped make the non-3D televisions cheaper than ever. If you consider 3D an expensive novelty, you’ll find great deals on entry-level televisions.
Plasma giants offer an amazing picture but were once ridiculously expensive. Now they’re actually the cheapest way to get yourself a great television. If you’re out shopping at the post-Christmas sales, cast your eye over the 50-inch Panasonic “Full HD” 1080p plasmas that you’ll find for well under $1000. You’ll also find sub-$1000 50-inch plasmas from the likes of LG and Samsung, but we’d lean towards the Panasonics. Right now 50 inches is about the sweet spot in terms of value for money when it comes to big televisions.
These plasmas are certainly going to look better than 50-inch LCDs you’ll find in the same sub-$1000 price range. If you wonder why some televisions are cheaper than others, check to see whether they’re 720p HD or 1080p Full HD. Don’t trust the sales assistant to know. If you’re on a budget, even a dirt cheap 720p plasma can look better than a dirt cheap 1080p LCD.
Admittedly plasmas can be more expensive to run than LCD TVs. LCD is also traditionally a little brighter, but the gap has closed in recent years. If you are looking at LCD, you’ll want to spend more on an LED LCD in order to rival the picture quality of plasma. Look for a refresh rate of at least 100 Hz, especially if you’ll be watching fast-moving action such as sport. You’ll struggle to find a reputable-brand 50-inch 1080p LED TV for under $1000, but $1500 should be more than enough.
Don’t worry about bells and whistles such as internet access, just get the best picture quality you can afford and let your various set-top boxes do the heavy lifting. Haggle with the shop assistant to get a good deal on an internet-enabled Blu-ray player, which will also upscale your DVDs to look sharper on your new big television.
Wherever possible hook up your devices via HDMI, such as DVD/Blu-ray players, Personal Video Recorders, media players and games consoles. Electrical discount stores tend to sell TVs cheap but charge ridiculous prices on HDMI cables. Don’t let the shop assistant talk you into spending more than around $15 for a 1 metre HDMI cable. You’ll find ezyhd-cables.com.au is a good source for HDMI cables, or electronics stores such as Jaycar.