Last week, I was down at the ranch house contemplating our upcoming remodel (stay tuned, it's gonna be a helluva ride...!) and took a minute to look at the electronic relics we need to replace. In one corner is a 1960's era Admiral "color" television that weighs more than a cruise ship anchor. Across the room is a stereo hi-fi (sadly, no vinyl to be found) that doesn't work or even function as a piece of vintage furniture. Yeah Boomers, we've got work to do...
That's why I've turned to our friends at Dealnews.com. These guys are crazy smart about plenty of things - but their tech guru Louis Ramirez is tops when it comes to helping you get the best electronic bang for your techno buck. Louis will keep me on the right path with my ranch tech purchases and I'll keep you posted on how this project turns into the worst money pit of all time comes together.
To get started, Louis has busted a lot of tech "myths" we all seem to believe. Here are 6 that cost us a lot of money and how we can avoid them.
1. LCD TVs Provide the Best Picture Quality
When it comes to picture quality, plasmas are still king. In fact, only one of CNET's Top 5 HDTVs of 2012 is an LCD. That's not to say LCD HDTVs are a bad bargain, but for videophiles who want the deepest blacks and best viewing angles, plasmas still reign supreme. Not only that, but plasma HDTVs regularly come in at lower prices too, and may see even deeper discounts in the future if, as rumors imply, financially-burdened Panasonic backs out of the plasma business.
2. Always Splurge on an Extended Warranty
Extended warranties are pure profit for retailers as they pocket more than 50% of an extended warranty's cost. Rather than be bullied into buying one the next time you're at a retail store, take a look at the warranty provided by the manufacturer (which oftentimes is more than sufficient) and research warranties provided by third parties like SquareTrade.
3. Expensive HDMI Cables Are Best
While you may think the quality of your media relies on the cable that transmits it, you don't actually need to spend a lot of money on an HDMI cord. Various outlets have debunked this myth, and based on the deals we see, consumers should spend no more than $4 on a 6-foot cable. In fact, Monoprice offers one for $3.50.
4. Apple Products Are Only Discounted on Black Friday
As we've noted before, deals on Apple products can come as quickly as two days after a product's debut. And though you may think Apple's Black Friday Sale is the only (and best) time to find discounted Apple products, the truth is we tend to find better Apple deals from resellers year-round, as well as during that weekend specifically.
5. Megapixels Are All That Matter
Unless you're printing billboard-size photos or doing some extreme photo cropping, the megapixel count in today's models is no longer relevant. As the New York Times pointed out, the megapixel myth is a "big fat lie."
6. Refurbished Electronics Are Always Scratched and/or Dented
While refurbs are often stigmatized as "rejects," many of them have actually undergone better and more rigorous testing standards than new products. In addition, they can offer savings of up to 50%. When buying refurbs, we recommend researching who you're buying from. For instance, Apple, Amazon, and Best Buy offer an assortment of refurbs that have undergone thorough testing standards.