Bar­gain tel­lies

HOW TO AVOID THE LEMONS AND SPOT THE DI­A­MONDS IN THE ROUGH.

TechLife Australia - - WELCOME - get­price.com.au ozbar­gain.com.au stati­cice.com.au www.2ndsworld.com.au),

[ LINDSAY HANDMER ]

IT’S HARD NOT to be tempted by the now nu­mer­ous 4K TVs, avail­able in mas­sive sizes for rock bot­tom prices. But how do you know if they are any good, let alone what fea­tures you need? Higher-end ex­pen­sive mod­els can be bar­gains, too, but how do you know if it’s worth opt­ing for the pricier model? To help out, we have put to­gether a guide to get­ting the best deal when buy­ing a TV.

BAR­GAIN HUNT­ING

Un­for­tu­nately, there is not a sin­gle com­pre­hen­sive go-to re­source for com­par­ing TVs sold in Aus­tralia, so find­ing the di­a­monds in the rough can be tricky. Web­sites such as are an ex­cel­lent way to find deals on heav­ily dis­counted mod­els — though keep in mind that cheap does not al­ways mean good and, thus, a bar­gain. While many users on OzBar­gain are knowl­edge­able enough to give ex­cel­lent feed­back on the specs, it’s al­ways worth re­search­ing sep­a­rately to see how a TV stacks up be­fore pur­chas­ing. Web­sites

and are also great re­sources for com­par­ing prices, which can then be used to price match.

LAST YEAR’S MOD­ELS

Of­ten the best TV bar­gains can be found by keep­ing an eye on last year’s mod­els dis­counted be­fore new stock ar­rives. With a lit­tle luck and a watch­ful eye, a high-end TV can be picked up for the price of a mid-range one. With the cur­rent state of TVs, a year-old model is still quite cur­rent, and will still do ev­ery­thing needed.

WHERE TO BUY

Of­ten big stores (such as JB Hi-Fi, Har­vey Norman and var­i­ous oth­ers) will price match, mak­ing for an eas­ier and safer pur­chase than buy­ing on­line.

When go­ing to look at TVs in per­son, keep in mind that the screen set­tings will be set to look good in a bright store, and won’t nec­es­sar­ily re­flect what you will see at home.

Other stores, such as 2nds World ( can have ex­cel­lent deals on as new but re­fur­bished mod­els.

SPECS MAT­TER

Even the cheap­est TV is not a bar­gain if it doesn’t per­form well, or does not have the fea­tures you need. We have out­lined some of the key specs to con­sider when look­ing for TV bar­gains, as well as why they are or are not im­por­tant.

For most users, 3D sup­port is not needed (but is of­ten in­cluded) and curved screens are a per­sonal choice that it’s not worth pay­ing much ex­tra for.

OF­TEN THE BEST TV BAR­GAINS CAN BE FOUND BY KEEP­ING AN EYE ON LAST YEAR’S MOD­ELS DIS­COUNTED BE­FORE NEW STOCK AR­RIVES. WITH A LIT­TLE LUCK AND A WATCH­FUL EYE, A HIGH-END TV CAN BE PICKED UP FOR THE PRICE OF A MID-RANGE ONE.

Make sure to cal­i­brate the TV for your view­ing en­vi­ron­ment and, for many mod­els, de­tailed guides can be found on­line. Try Googling it, or check­ing out web­sites such as www.flat­pan­elshd.com.

PANEL TYPES

Most TVs (es­pe­cially more af­ford­able mod­els) use LCD screens, and are ei­ther edge or back­lit. Back­lit TVs typ­i­cally have bet­ter con­trast ra­tios, but can be more ex­pen­sive, and thicker. OLED TVs are much more ex­pen­sive, yet give the best colours and con­trast, and have wider view­ing an­gles.

SIZE DOES MAT­TER

Pick­ing the right sized TV for your space is very im­por­tant, but of­ten it’s bet­ter to go a lit­tle larger, rather than smaller. A good rule of thumb for size is half the view­ing dis­tance. So if you sit 3m back from the TV, then a 55-inch to 65-inch model (140–165cm) is a good place to start. 4K TVs (us­ing high-res con­tent) are usu­ally a bit more for­giv­ing to larger sizes up close, and curved TVs can look larger than they re­ally are.

RES­O­LU­TION

Even quite af­ford­able TVs now sport 4K res­o­lu­tions, but the ex­tra pix­els are wasted un­less you have a high-res­o­lu­tion source. In Aus­tralia, even HD free-to-air chan­nels are not 1080p, and aside from a few stream­ing ser­vices such as Net­flix, or Ul­tra HD Blu-rays, it’s hard to find 4K con­tent. Many TVs can up­scale low­er­res­o­lu­tion video sources, but on cheaper mod­els, the pro­cess­ing is not al­ways very ef­fec­tive.

While a 4K TV is a good fu­ture-proof pur­chase, don’t rule out fea­tures or well­priced 1080p mod­els.

HIGH DY­NAMIC RANGE

Only avail­able on quite new (and of­ten higher-end) TVs, HDR means the TV can dis­play a wider range of colours, brighter whites and deeper blacks — in other words, a much higher-qual­ity im­age, and the dif­fer­ence is very no­tice­able.

The prob­lem is that, for now, there are few HDR con­tent sources — es­pe­cially for stream­ing ser­vices.

SMARTS AND AU­DIO

Hav­ing a TV with a built-in Net­flix app, and the abil­ity to load other apps, is su­per handy. The prob­lem is that many ba­sic TVs have fairly poor ‘smart’ sys­tems, and can be slow and frus­trat­ing to use. In­stead, con­sider an ex­ter­nal me­dia player. Google’s Chrome­cast ( www.google.com/intl/en_au/

chrome­cast) is an ex­cel­lent choice from around $50, and uses your smart­phone as a re­mote. More fully fea­tured me­dia play­ers cost $200 or more, but of­fer a bet­ter-thanbuilt-in ‘smart’ TV ex­pe­ri­ence.

The same goes for au­dio — in­vest in a de­cent ex­ter­nal setup rather than us­ing the in­built speak­ers.

RE­FRESH RATES

Given in Hz, a higher re­fresh rate gives a smoother pic­ture. For nor­mal watch­ing, it’s not a big is­sue, but a re­fresh rate of 120Hz or higher can help avoid blur or jud­der­ing dur­ing fast ac­tion, es­pe­cially when watch­ing sports.

Chi­nese com­pany Hisense is a lesser­known brand that pro­duces high­qual­ity, stylish TVs at great prices.

OzBar­gain is our go-to web­site for deal hunt­ing.

In­vest­ing in a sur­round sound sys­tem (even a rel­a­tively cheap one) will make your new TV sound a lot bet­ter.

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