Dangers of buying used HDTVs?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GFLPraxis, Jun 17, 2007.

  1. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    I don't have a single HDTV in the house, because the parents feel no need to upgrade. I'd love to have a HDTV, as it'd give me incentive to get, say, an XBox 360 in the future, or Wii component cables, or just hook up my MacBook.

    I'd kind of ruled it out; my part-time IT paid internship pays well enough, but I'm a penny-pincher and trying to put money away for the future. The only HDTVs in stores for under $1000 are 30" or below and really don't look much better than a SDTV in many cases (and don't have HD tuners, which is another $100-$200). So I just ruled it out with a shrug and a "I'll get one eventually" attitude.

    I was poking around Craigslist and found quite a number of decent priced HDTVs. Several people in the area are moving and trying to sell off equipment or have moved and have no place for the new equipment or just have too much, etc.

    I've found a number of 46"-60" HDTVs for $500-$700, usually with built in HD tuners. Most of them look like they are in good condition; at worst, cosmetic blemishes in the corner of the base where movers bumped them. Most are 1.5-3 years old.

    A lot of them say "you can have it for $500 if you can move it".

    It seems legitimate to me, but having Aspergers I tend to have a measure of gullibility when it comes to intentions :eek:

    What are the dangers of buying an HDTV off of Craigslist, where you can meet the person and inspect the TV in person? If there is no scam danger, then what should I look for in the TV that would indicate sub-parity?
  2. galstaph macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2002
    The Great White North Eh
    dangers/cautions: you could get stolen property or scammed. the tv may have issues/no warranty etc. may be an older model or not quite what you had in mind (i.e. settle for the first good deal and miss out on something better)
    Benefits: might get a good deal
  3. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    My brother picked up a 32" Vizio TV from Sams Club for 600 bucks. It's a really nice TV and has a built in digital tuner.

    And, we discovered that since it has a built in QAM HD tuner, if your cable company doesn't encrypt it's video on demand signals, you can view them. Free hardcore porn Disney movies :D
  4. scott85213 macrumors member

    May 19, 2007
    Honestly the only thing I can think of that would/could be wrong with it besides physical damage, which you seemed to shrug off, would be burn in.

    Also if your cable provider does encrypt their channels, they are legally bound to broadcast all local channels in hd for free.
  5. GFLPraxis thread starter macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    I don't care about physical blemishes unless they're very evident. Scratches or chipped base doesn't matter. As long as the screen is perfect and you don't notice it unless you look for it :)

    I would demand on inspecting any TV before purchase of course.
  6. kmarketing macrumors 6502

    Mar 26, 2004
    With dlp hdtv's, you may want to check the lamp life on the set. They're user replaceable in most cases, but you may want to factor in those costs if the dlp has been greatly used.

    Good Luck!!
  7. GFLPraxis thread starter macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Okay, this is really the stuff I need to be asking about.

    Are DLP's the "fat" ones (in contrast to LCD and Plasma that are very thin)?
    Where do you check that? The manual, or is it written somewhere on the TV?
  8. Flyinace2000 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 28, 2004
    You can great deals on HDTV's We just got a 42" Vizio plasma for 809 @ Circuit City, and i have seen 32 -37" for $450 to $700.
  9. Sdashiki macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens
    When all TVs are HD.

    Even the cheapest piece of crap will be better than any SDTV available now.

    If you can wait, do it.

    Time can only make things cheaper and better.
  10. c.greene914 macrumors regular


    Jun 3, 2007
    Lamp life is an issue for both DLP and LCD rear projection. That is worth asking about.

    Also, if it is an LCD, I would research response time. Some older models had lag and artifacting due to slower refresh rates. Most newer models refresh around 5ms or faster, but older models were not quite as good.

    One thing to consider is where the TV will be and what you will use it for. If you watch channels with static images, (ie CSpan, Fox News, video games, etc) burn in may be a problem for a plasma. Some sets will have a burn in solution, such as a white screen to remove the burn in, but this will also drastically reduce the life of the tv.

    LCD screens are known for being brighter and more vibrant and are best when used in brightly lit rooms. Black rendering is getting better with new models, but older tvs may have a hard time distinguishing details in dark scenes during a movie. LCDs are usually smaller in size, around 46" and smaller.

    Plasma screens are more known for warm, true-to-life colors with more realism that lcd screens. Plasma also has much better black rendering and artifacting or lag is not usually as much of a problem. Plasma are best in rooms without a ton of light, as the screen is fairly reflective. Plasma are usually bigger in size, around 42" and larger.

    I haven't done much research on DLP because when I was looking at HDTVs, I always found them to be substandard when compared to Plasma or LCD screens. Also, I wanted a flat panel to hang on the wall so that ruled out DLP to begin with.

    Other things to consider when purchasing are connectivity. How many things will you be connecting? HDMI? Component? S-Video? Composite? Coaxial? If you have a surround sound system this is not as much an issue as everything should be routed through your receiver, but just something to think about. Resolution is impoartant as well. If buying plasma, don't buy smaller than 50". Most 42" plasma aren't even true HD. They are close enough to get away with the HD label, but the pixel count is not high enough to be true High Definition.

    Here are two good websites to read before taking the plunge in HD. Reviews are mostly geared toward newer models, but there is a wealth of good information about HD in general as well as more detailed information on each type of screen, buying tips, etc..


    Good luck, HD is a wonderful thing. I can't wait until it more mainstream!

  11. c.greene914 macrumors regular


    Jun 3, 2007
    One last thing to consider is resolution in relation to screen size. If you compare a 50" screen with a 55" screen, and both have 1365x768 native resolution, which one do you think will look better? Obviously the 50" as the same resolution is put into a smaller screen, thus giving the effect of crisper, more detailed images.
  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Related to the DLP lamp concern ...

    If you get something other than an LCD or plasma, try to avoid a 1080i set -- they have the lowest resolution. It would be better to get a 720p or 1080p TV... particularly since 720p LCDs have become so inexpensive.

    If you get a plasma, be sure to see it working and turned on -- flip channels etc on it. Plasmas can have burn-in issues. Related to this is that you must decide whether or not you dare using one with a video game system and burning it in yourself.

    LCDs are really the best option, I think. They're the lightest, the 720p ones aren't that expensive anymore, they have no burn issues, etc, etc.
  13. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I've been looking at used HDTV models too, but unfortunately for me, almost all (if not all) of the ones that I have seen for under $1000 are rear projection, which generally means large and heavy. I currently have a 50" rear projection analog crt tv, and I don't want another one because it just dwarfs everything else in the room. Also be careful to get one that has the connectivity that you need. Most upconverting dvd players today will not output an hdtv signal over composite, so you may need a tv with dvi or hdmi connections. Just my 2 cents.
  14. bobber205 macrumors 68020


    Nov 15, 2005
    Personally I would go for a HD compatible LCD monitor. :D

    It sounds more like what you're wanting, especially since you mentioned your macbook. A 360 etc etc will work on it too.
  15. kmarketing macrumors 6502

    Mar 26, 2004

    I bought several months ago my current 61" HDTV Samsung DLP 1080p, and its beautiful. I bought it for $1500 new, so you may be able to do even better than that. With dlp's and some of the lycos technology, you may have to be worried about lamp life. The new samsung dlps, don't use lamps anymore, they use led's.

    But my set weighs about 75-80 lbs, less than most plasmas of that size. It sticks out from the back maybe 16 inches, so its not that big. Right now rear projection dlp's are probably the best bang for the buck.

    A great site to check out is: avsforum. I've never seen anything better in terms of home theater stuff.

    If you want big screen, you may want to check out projectors. I have one and get a 92" image which is comparable in picture quality to hdtv, and much cheaper. Unbelievable!!

    Good Luck!

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