Ok, I know that the headline is a wee bit of click-bait, but try and forgive me for that …. Here at Marco Polo Money we are about saving money and doing our best at maximizing those savings. This is through both putting more money in the bank and retirement accounts as well as through not spending as much. This also can include searching for those great deals on pretty much anything, but especially on those big ticket items.
Now I have to admit, although we are generally good at avoiding luxury purchases (we are still driving our 2003 Ford Focus Wagon, and will continue to until it rusts out), I have a particular weakness for technology. This isn’t so much in the realm of smartphones and the like (though I don’t avoid them these days as I have in the past), but more-so in the audio-visual world of high fidelity audio and high definition television. I have a specific attraction to quality headphones, which avoid the high expense of hi-fi speakers, and the sound quality can often come close. I will discuss my fascination with quality headphones and all the related gear in a future post.
Now you may be thinking, what does this all have to do with saving $2000 on a 4K HDTV? Continue below to find out more…..
Enter Black Friday 2017. Our trusty 2009/10 Panasonic 44″ 1080P HDTV is on its last legs. It is often quite dark (especially with regular cable shows), and sometimes I even have difficulty focusing on individual figures on the screen in the dark. For sure some of this has to do with my aging 44 year old eyes, but when I compare it to the newer televisions out there, well, there really is no comparison. So it is time for a new television, but which one?
My research began about a month or so before Black Friday was to arrive. I started researching some the tech sites: cnet.com, rtings.com, and many others. All of them came to the same conclusion, the LG OLED series were the best HDTVs available right now. The problem was THE PRICE !!!
Having a look around, these HDTVs were really expensive. The high end on these 4k HDTVs is around $8000. That’s right, they cost around the same amount that you can buy a decent used car for!! I almost got sick just looking at them. When I delved further into the madness of OLED HDTVs, I finally found one that was highly rated, and one that many people thought would be going on sale on Black Friday/Cyber Monday: LG 55″ B7 OLED 4K UHD Smart TV w/ webOS™ 3.5 .
The problem here was still the price, the HDTV was regularly $3000 CAN. This is still a hefty price tag., and I could not really imagine paying this kind of money for a television – albeit a super fancy, cutting edge, state of the art, 4k Ultra HDTV (that maybe can fly, and do the dishes, and do car repairs …. it should for the price)
So on Black Friday I went down to the Brick, which had dropped the price on their LG HDTVs. The 55″ B7 had been dropped by $1000 to $2000!!! I got the green light to go and buy it ( not without a lot of, uhmmmm, “conversation”), and off I went to the Brick.
I got to the store after running a few errands, and entered the Brick with great anticipation. Here was a high quality 4K Ultra HDTV that was going to quite literally blow me away – all of the reviews couldn’t be wrong …. could they?
I got in front of the LG B7, and ….. it was weird. The images were crystal clear, and the blacks had layers of complexity that I had never seen before on a HDTV, period. But other than that, I found the way that the figures on the screen moved to be, well for lack of a better term, video-game like. All of the images moved very independently of each other, and this was especially pronounced where there were computer generated images, or advanced special effects. On some of the scenes that were from movies, I actually thought it was from a video game at first – it took a few seconds to realize it was from a movie that I was familiar with, and even when I knew it was a specific movie, my brain was in a battle as to whether it was a video game or a movie!
So I stood and looked at the B7, and slowly I got a headache from watching the thing. This, combined with the strangeness of the image, made me switch to looking at some of the other HDTVs there, including the Samsung QN55Q7F Flat 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart QLED TV (2017 Model) . The Samsung had very nice colours, and didn’t have the strange, video game quality that the LG B7 had. The thing was, it was also around $2000. But once again, all of the reviewers couldn’t be wrong, right?
So after about an hour, I said, ok, it is go time! I sat down with the sales rep, and told her I was going to buy the LG B7. We got to the till, and as I was about to punch in my pin for the purchase and ….. I couldn’t do it. I walked out of the store, saying that I still needed to talk it over with my wife, much to the chagrin of the salesperson, I am sure.
So I went home, and felt much better about myself. I had saved myself $2000! You can too if you just don’t buy a $2000 HDTV on Black Friday and go for a more economical HDTV that is not the newest cutting edge technology, which I straight out did not like, and will likely come down in price significantly in the next year or two.
None of this means that I didn’t buy a HDTV. In the end I went for the economical 4K HDTV(well relatively speaking here, it is still a 4k HDTV!). If we could buy them in Canada, I probably would have gone with the 4K TCL P607 Roku TV, which I had no luck finding in Canada anywhere . Maybe I am just not that great an online shopper, but I could not find it. I considered buying it from the U.S. and shipping it to the border, but on the off chance that it had some problems, that would result in a major pain in the butt.
In the end, I opted for the VIZIO M55-E0 55″ 4K Ultra HD Smart Led Home Theater Display (2017) . It also got high ratings for everything, but its picture stands out, often comparing with HDTVs in the $2000 range. Mind you, it doesn’t have the best Smart-TV options, but I don’t care in that we take care of that by having our HDTV as a computer monitor, which allows us to run anything we want on it from the computer.
And what did we end up paying for this fine 4K HDTV? it was $800 CAN. This is a $2200 savings over the initial purchase price of the LG B7. I know that I am monkeying around with my math here, but even in relation to the discounted price of the B7, I saved us $1200. And to the original price of the Vizio M55(which is anywhere from $1000-$1200), we saved anywhere between $200 and $500 Can dollars. Now maybe this post will anger those who love the OLED HDTVs, but I like what I like. This could change in the future, but for now, I am very happy with my purchase ( as for my wife, we will see …) .
Note: No real money was harmed (or burned) at any point in the writing of this blog post.
Marco Polo Money – Be safe and travel far!