Saturday, April 12, 2008

Who needs HDTVs Anyway?

After hours of research and window shopping, I'm not going to purchase an HDTV anymore. Several factors that influenced this decision:

  • An HDTV will not fit into our current entertainment set, thus, a new TV stand needs to be purchased.
  • My family currently stays at a 3bedroom apartment and space is limited. No matter how nice they look, HDTVs will look best at a place that we own, not rent.
  • Can I really say that we NEED the HDTV? Or am I just buying it for playing the Wii? If the latter is true, then, this is the most expensive Wii accessory.
  • A friend who I shared my plan to purchase teased me for being American-ized on this purchase. Acquiring stuff on credit, interest free or not, is an American way of living.
  • $50 is enough to send 2 children in Africa to school for a month.
  • And finally, HDTVs cause cancer and premature aging. (HA!)

So, we'll be settling for a RCA 27" Tube SDTV, 27F554T instead. (See image below) It's still a TV, and is fully prepared for digital broadcasting at that. I'm going to look back at this decision as one of the smartest I've made so far.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

HDTV Financing

Personal Research on Interest Free HDTV Options.

My boys received a PAL-supported Wii that was purchased in England as a gift. It wouldn't work with an older TV model that we had since it supported the NSTC format only, and, having delayed impulse buying on an HDTV, I finally went searching for a TV that would fit our needs. Having researched and window shopped for a suitable HDTV on stores and in the Internet, I settled for a Samsung LN-S4095D 40" 1080p LCD HDTV that had a $1,300+ price tag.

As I had planned a higher priority purchase later in the month, my budget couldn't accommodate me paying the purchase in full. I balked at the wisdom of having to use a credit card, even with its less than 10% APR, to purchase something that wasn't a basic necessity. So, my challenge was - I wanted to pay only a certain amount per month, and I also didn't want to pay any interest. My payment options were limited to making the purchase using a financing scheme. That led me to check around for the best possible options.

For the amount of purchase I was planning to make, most of the offers available were 90-day interest free payments. Stores like Best Buy, and Sears required using their credit cards to avail of this program. Online sites using Bill Me Later such as also had a 90-day period to pay without interest.

The best options I found were that of Circuit City and Wal-Mart. Both allowed up to 12 months to pay without interest. Circuit City even had a 36-month interest waived payment scheme, though this is for another TV brand. But, I will be choosing Wal-Mart for the following reasons: (a) the budget I have should allow me to fully pay the Samsung HDTV in less than a year, and, (b) our family often shop at Wal-Mart and this new credit account will allow us to take advantage of their rewards program.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

HDTV: To buy or not to buy

After spending some time shopping for a TV, reading numerous product reviews, understanding the advantages of LCD and plasma, and getting feedback from friends, I found what I believe is best for us - the Samsung LNT4061F 40-inch 1080p LCD HDTV.

Questions remain: What value would this add? Am I buying a TV just so we can play Wii on it? Is it really necessary? And, the most important question is: How can I pay for it?

As our family has a higher priority purchase slated for this month, I can only set aside a certain amount per month to pay for this TV. I don't want to pay interest either. So the only option for me is to check out interest free financing if there is one available.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Searching for a TV

A friend from England gifted my boys with a Wii, possibly their most expensive toy to date. The problem was, when we connected the Wii to our TV, the screen vibrated and there was no way it can be configured with that.

We figured that the power input might be the problem. The US uses 110 volts, while European appliances use 220 volts. We needed a step-up transformer to provide the necessary voltage. It took us an evening visiting the neighborhood stores looking for one but to no avail. I couldn't believe it, until a friend did say that the only place we could possibly check is the Internet.

So, I did. After a week, we got our step-up transformer and I was very excited to try it. However, the result was the same. With or without transformers, the screen was vibrating. I mentioned this problem to a colleague and he thought that it must be the TV. We did some googling and learned that Wii from England worked with PAL format, as opposed to the NSTC standard here in the US. Apparently, newer TV models should be able to handle both. The same friend lent me his 19" Samsung TV to test this, and when I did, it worked!

So now, we're in the market for a bigger TV.

Monday, March 31, 2008

My Greatest Assets

I got married when I was 22. My wife and I will be celebrating our 10th anniversary this July. I was just starting in my first IT consulting job, and I took a leave of absence telling my project manager that I was going to get married over the weekend. She smirked and asked me if I was sure. I thought that it was an insulting question - of course I was sure. But I dont blame her. I married young. Back then, I didn't come across as someone "marry-able".

And, in the course of six quick years, 3 boys joined the family. When I had only two boys, a warehouse supervisor at a small town in Portugal looked at me from head to foot and asked, "Don't you have anything else to do in the Philippines?" Again, that was insulting. I was 25 then. Easily insulted.

Now, I have a 9-year old, a 7-year old, and a 4-year old. My wife and bestfriend, and my boys, are my most prized possessions.