Let's say that you've decided to buy a 46-inch television--and of course you want the best-quality television you can get for the amount you're willing to spend. You see one high-priced LCD that comes with many of the features you're looking for, but you also see a lower-priced set that has the same features. Should you be scared away by the cheaper set because of its price tag?
Vizio, for example, is a budget-conscious television maker. Though its sets may cost hundreds of dollars less than comparable TVs from its chief competitors (like Samsung), they hold up quite well against those rivals in feature selection and image quality.
But before you commit to Vizio, you need to be aware that not all models the company makes are equally good bargains. Models from the company's XVT series of HDTVs consistently perform well in our reviews. They offer most, if not all, of the extras included with other sets of their class, plus a competitive level of picture quality. But the XVT models are more expensive than many of the other sets Vizio sells. The cheaper models, such as the M-series and the E-series, come with fewer features and lower picture quality, though they do sell for a much lower price, as well.
This pattern is the same for every TV vendor. Whether you choose a Panasonic plasma or an LG LCD, you'll have several models to choose from that extend across a wide range of prices and quality levels. And in some cases, Vizio's pricing may not match that of other vendors--especially at the low end.
Don't be scared away by low prices. Even inexpensive models deliver a level of quality that was available only from top-of-the-line sets a few years ago. As long as you know what you want from your new television, and you have a clear idea of what you're willing to spend, and you're aware of the better sets in any company's product line, saving a few bucks on a cheaper set is never a bad idea.
Over the next few years, you'll be hard-pressed to find televisions on store shelves that lack a 3D capability. That's because the cost of adding 3D to sets is minimal. And as more content providers offer 3D, consumers will naturally want a TV that can access it.
So, should you get 3D in your next HDTV? It's tough to say. If you're on a budget, you can save hundreds of dollars by sticking with 2D.
For example, the 2D, 40-inch Samsung UN40D6000 sells for $1099, while the 3D-capable Samsung UN40D6400 costs $1299. Aside from the 3D feature, both sets are extremely similar, so you'll pay $200 extra for the 3D viewing mode.