Stores Recommend LCD HDTVs

A press release from J.D. Power and Associates and Market Force Informaiton cites a new report, “2008 Television Retail Insights Report”, which was released last Monday. Based on the results gathered by more than 2,000 mystery shoppers at retail stores across the country over the past six months, the report measures the product knowledge of the salespeople. And at look at the results explains why I try to stay out of consumer electronics stores, in an effort to keep my blood pressure down.

For example, more than a third of the shoppers reported that they were told that LCD TVs “last longer” than plasma TVs. The fact is that both have similar rated lifespans, typically on the order of 50,000 to 60,000 hours. (And for typical home use, this translates to more than 17 years of 8 hours a day: far longer than most people keep their televisions.)

More than a third were told that images can be permanently burned into a plasma screen, which also is not exactly the case. Permanent damage is rare these days, but it is true that you can get a “persistant image” that can take hours to fade.

On the other hand, less than a quarter of the shoppers were informed of some of LCD TV’s advantages, including lighter weight or lower power consumption.

It’s no surprise that the shoppers received more complete and accurate information in a consumer electronics specialty store than at the big box stores. Information at mass merchants and warehouse stores was much harder to come by.

The bottom line remains that in order to make an informed decision about an HDTV purchase, you need to be informed. And as this latest study shows, the retail store may not be the most effective and reliable source of information for your choice.

Avoid an expensive mistake and get the right HDTV the first time with Professor Poor’s Guide to Buying HDTV, now available in paperback from Amazon or other fine booksellers.