Monday, November 18, 2013

Mummy Hearts Money Goes 3D!

Our TV that is, not the website.  This is a bit of a long post (brace yourself!) to give you an idea of the process we go through before making a major purchase.

Husband and I have long wanted and lusted after a 3D Smart TV. We don't like to lead the pack when it comes to technology, because we have learnt the hard way that prices on electronics and devices drop very quickly and there is a lot of money to be saved if you don't mind not having the newest and best gadget out there. (I just had my free with contract iPhone 4S delivered last month, to the amusement of some of my colleagues who are sporting the latest 5 whatever model).

Last years model was someones awesome gift back then. It hasn't stopped being awesome just because something new came along.

We promised ourselves way back in January that this was our year to get our dream TV though, this technology is right up our alley as we love to watch movies in 3D at the cinema's with 12 year old Maddy, and we are already users of various media boxes that enable media and Internet browsing on the TV.

We loved watching Harry Potter on 3D source
We tend to buy our electronics and appliances through The Good Guys. They always beat the lowest price that I find, (both online and in store prices), and we love that they keep a record of our purchases that make claiming on warranties so much easier. You can even claim without your original receipt which is something we have made use of a few times. We've never had an issue claiming on warranty through The Good Guys either, everything is fixed fairly quickly and with good communication.

Extended warranties are your best friend. Protect your major purchase with an additional warranty that could save you big dollars in repairs down the track.

Once Christmas was out of the way last year I started purchasing a $50 Good Guys gift card each pay and putting it aside towards the TV fund. In doing it this way we have lost out on approximately $19 that we would have earnt in interest by banking the money, but this keeps our eye on the prize and we don't get distracted throughout the year by other financial wants that might arise (holidays being the most likely to distract!)

We headed in on Sunday to check out the final day of an advertised TV clearance, with enough vouchers stored up to cover the cost of a good TV. Husband originally had his heart set on a Samsung, and even though I don't specially mind either way he convinced me we really want LCD this time around and not plasma. Side by side I could see that LCD seems to be sharper somehow, although I'm not sure I could tell the difference if I just had an LCD TV on its own.

We had lots of questions for the sales staff and were in store almost 90 minutes researching but in the end made a decision that was within our budget that made us both happy. We watched some examples of normal TV converted to 3D in store and the results are a lot of fun. I've read some bad reviews of this aspect of 3D TV, with most professional reviewers predicting that 3D will die a slow death, but we thought it looked pretty cool. We love taking Maddy to see 3D versions of our favourite movies at IMAX, but with 2 little ones in the house these days it's not as easy to do. We're hoping this will give us back some of that fun together via Saturday night movie night at home. The 3D results of a converted program or movie are good, but of course the best results are had watching a movie that was made for 3D, as that's when things really jump out of the screen at you.

Don't rush the purchase. Ask your questions, and don't be embarrassed to ask for time to think about it. And then ask some more. Don't leave the store with any outstanding questions.

The sales guy told us we'll need to buy a blu ray player in order to watch made for 3D movies, but what he couldn't tell us was whether we could buy digital versions of 3D movies. We got rid of our DVDs a long time ago and we love the convenience of having all our movies on hard drive to scroll through on the TV. Hoping we can but we'll have to put some research into it once the TV is in use.

We were considering 3 TV's at one point, a Sony, an LG, and a Samsung but quickly knocked out the Sony when we found out that the 3D viewing glasses are battery operated. While I'm sure there are various viewing benefits, we didn't like the weight, and since we are pretty awful at keeping our Wii remotes charged, it's not likely we would be any better with the glasses. The Samsung and the LG use lighter weight plastic glasses, although not the daggy old red and green lensed things we used growing up! The glasses are much slicker and more comfortable.

That left us with the LG and the Samsung, only about $30 different in price and seemingly much of a muchness. Husband was quite keen on the Samsung, it's a brand he favours, but in the end we went with the LG for 4 reasons.

First reason being that we could buy universal glasses. Not all brands seem to be compatible with universal glasses, and since the TV (and most others we saw) only come with 4 glasses, we will need to buy more eventually to accommodate not only our own family but a few spares for visitors. This is the kind of gadget we are pretty good at sourcing from overseas electrical sites, so we can see some potential savings in additional and replacements there. Also loving the clip on 3D lenses we have found that I can attach to my regular prescription glasses!

Universal glasses seem to run as cheap as
$1.50 online

The second reason was that the LG TV comes with Magic Remote compatibility. It's not a standard inclusion with this model, but if we are interested (and we think we are) it's essentially a smart remote to go with a smart TV. It will act as a hand held computer mouse, is kind of the best way to describe it, and also has voice functionality. We haven't bought it, we want to research complimentary brands first, but it's definitely something we have our eye on.

The third reason is that the LG comes with a smart version of the Skylanders Battlegrounds pack. We will download the game straight to the TV with no need for a console, and the portal and playing figures (3) will be mailed to us. Although we have a Skylanders set already, we plan to keep the Wii in a different room to this TV, and since Skylanders is one of our favourite games this is a nice little bonus. We are also curious about whether we can sell off/giveaway our existing Skylanders game and portal and just use this new one when it arrives.

The fourth and final reason is the dual play gaming option. I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but we can purchase additional gaming glasses, that when worn by 2 players simultaneously actually split the screen so that each player sees only his own gaming screen even though both will be shown on the screen playing against one another. So if you have a game that splits the screen in two while you play a competitor, it will enhance the playing. We're not a huge gaming family, although I suspect hubby would play a lot more if we weren't so busy and I saw his eyes light up at this feature. Like the magic remote, I think this is something we may explore down the track.

The model we have bought is 50LA6230. It's a 50", which is a leap up from our old TV which is 42". To be honest I always felt our old TV was huge, and more than big enough for us, but for the price range we were shopping in ($1100-$1300) the 50" TVs were much more cost effective than the 42". The price was already very good at $1289 but (and I kid you not), I pointed out to our sales rep that I had found it online for $1288. (Thank you iPhone for instantaneous cost comparisons). He did give me the hairy eyeball for a second to see if I was serious about the $1, but came to the party with $1270 instead. What we've found with The Good Guys is that when a price has been dropped ridiculously to price match as standard store pricing (which we understand The Good Guys do at least daily), the reps are not really in a position to do the "less for cash" thing. But if you can find it cheaper somewhere, they will drop to keep in line with the lowest price guarantee. So it ended up being an $18 saving, and since Bing Lee and JB Hifi are both offering the TV for well over $1300, we're pretty happy with that price.

Here's the biggest tip of all for buying your electricals and devices. Buy 4-5 weeks out from Christmas from The Good Guys, and then keep an eye on the sales that follow everywhere else.

The Good Guys offer a 30 day lowest price guarantee which we've taken advantage of before. If anywhere else has our TV at a lower price over the next 30 days, we can (and will!) go back to The Good Guys for a 120% refund of the difference. We did it last year when we bought Maddy's school/Christmas iPad. About 2 weeks after we bought it, Target had a 1 day unannounced sale that included a discount of about $50 on the iPad so back I went for the difference.

The TV is hidden away at the moment waiting for Christmas day. Although the babies won't get much use out of it for a few years, we think Maddy will be pretty happy to see, and we can't wait to have a play!

Do you negotiate on the price or just go with the flow? And would you go back for the difference if they price dropped elsewhere?


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