Electronics often top holiday wish lists, and one of the most popular items are televisions. Jean talks with Brian Cooley, editor at large of Cnet.com, about what to consider when purchasing a television. Brian shares tips on how to make buying TVs a little bit easier and more affordable:
Wait it out. Prices will keep coming down over the next few years, Brian says. In 2008 and 2009, he says to expect a price decrease of somewhere between 20 and 30 percent on select products. "You will feel some price regret in one or two years if you buy your TV now, but if you want it right away and you can afford it, buy it." If you are still researching the kind of television you want, it may be worth the wait.
Read reviews about products that interest you. Look for user reviews that will summarize what is good and bad about a product, Brian says. Consistency in reviews will guide you to the right product.
Consider buying a second tier product. "These are all made by the same handful of factories that make the name-brand products," Brian says. "You are not buying an 'off' brand when you buy a lesser known name—you just may be buying [fewer] features or a little less performance." Brian says with the hugely discounted price of buying a generic brand, it's a big price advantage and a great option to think about.
Remember that returning electronics may not be easy. There may be a re-stocking charge of 10 to 15 percent if you attempt to return your item, and keep in mind that some electronics are not returnable at all, Brian says. Talk to the store you are buying from before you make your purchase. Also, if there is a rebate involved, make sure that you know you want to keep the product before you send in the rebate.