Buying TVs and audio visual electronics

Please note that these guides do not constitute legal advice and any information provided in the guides should not be construed as legal advice or legal interpretation. We do not accept any liability for any loss caused by your reliance on this guide.

The DoneDeal guide to buying TVs and audio visual electronics



  • Know the difference between plasma, LCD, LED and “old school” tube sets.
  • Ask the seller how old it is.

Repair history questions

  • Has the set ever been repaired? What was fixed?
  • Was the set bought new, or was it refurbished or reconditioned?
  • If refurbished, was this carried out by the manufacturer or a thirdparty?
  • Does it have a warranty or an extended guarantee?

Turn it on

  • Ask the seller to turn the TV on and hook it up to cable, satellite, Freeview, Saorview or a DVD player.
  • You have a right to see that it works.
  • If the seller says no, walk away.


  • Listen for any odd noises. Loud humming from the set could spell trouble.
  • Sniff it. Smell burning components? Walk away.
  • Let it run for a few minutes. Sometimes TVs can fail after warming up.
  • Look at the TV from your normal viewing distance.
  • Look at the screen with the lights in the room switched on and off.


  • Is it very dusty? Dust settling inside can cause issues with heat distribution, which could be a fire hazard.
  • Look carefully for any cracks, dents or holes in the outside casing.
  • If there are dents, it may have been dropped. Be sure to check front and back for cracks.

Behind the scenes

  • Ensure you have the right connectors for a satellite box, cable, Saorview or Freeview.
  • Wiggle the cable connectors. Make sure they fit snugly.
  • Shine a light inside the back of the set. Check for foreign objects inside.

Added extras

  • Get all the accessories you need to run it.
  • Don’t forget the remote – and check that it works.


  • Size matters. Is it too big to fit the room you plan to put it in?
  • Check image quality:  plasma screens give better colour accuracy, but LCDs have better image brightness, while LED TVs are good on both counts.
  • Older model plasma TVs have potentially shorter life spans. LED TVs are most energy efficient. Plasmas guzzle energy.


  • Only certain iDTVs (integrated digital TVs) can receive Saorview. Check the model on the Saorview website. You may need a Saorview set top box.
  • The majority of UK Freeview boxes will not pick up Saorview. If the TV has Freeview it may not automatically pick up Saorview.
  • Check if the TV has an MPEG4 and is a Saorview approved iDTV model. For digital teletext the TV will need Mheg5 Middleware.

DVD players

  • Does it record?
  • Is it Blu Ray? Blu Ray DVD players can play DVDs, CDs and stream from the internet.
  • Non Blu Ray players won’t play Blu Ray DVDs. You need a HDTV to get the benefits of Blu Ray.

Portable DVD players

  • An AC adaptor is needed if you want to charge a portable DVD player in the car.
  • Decent battery life and anti-skip features are desirable in portable DVD players – don’t be afraid to ask.

Video recorders

  • VCRs can have two or four ‘heads’. The most basic VCR is a two head monaural.
  • Buying a four head VCR may not be worth the price difference if you don’t use it very often.
  • Check for head damage if cheap tapes have been played on the machine. Hook it up. Play a tape. See if it works.


  • How portable is the projector? Is it light? Can you move it about easily?
  • Hook it up. Check how bright the images are. Is the contrast good?
  • See if it has the inputs you need. Ask for any leads or cords. You may need to buy separate connections for Macs.

DVDs and CDs

  • Check the ‘region’ of the DVD. Region 1 is for DVDs playable in the USA. European DVDs are Region 2. Multi-region discs are also available.
  • Before buying,  take it out of its case. Is it scratched?
  • Play it. You’ll soon see if it’s damaged. Is the original packaging in good condition?


  • Bought an item and want to accessorise? Check DoneDeal ads for what you need.
  • Ask for what you want on DoneDeal's wanted ads section.
  • Set up an email alert for items you may want.