Buying TVs and audio visual electronics
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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.