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When Should You Buy a TV That's NOT a Name Brand?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (October 3, 2013) - Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to swann@tvpredictions.com

Q. I often see TV manufacturers that I've never heard of selling sets for what seems like really low prices. I'm tempted to buy one, but I'm a little nervous about their quality. Is it safe to buy a TV that's not a name brand? -- George, Salem, Oregon.

George, that's a great question. Companies such as Seiki, TCL, Coby, Haier and Sceptre often advertise TVs at prices far lower than comparably-sized sets from name-brand manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony and Panasonic.
 
The prices are irresistible, particularly if you are shopping on a budget, which most of us are. But before buying, you wonder if a company is relatively unknown, could it truly produce a TV that's less expensive but still top-quality?

Here's my rule of thumb:

If you are buying a larger-screen TV, say one 40 inches or larger, I would recommend that you stay with a name-brand company. The tried-and-true TV manufacturers have devoted years developing a reputation for reliability and quality and, consequently, are more likely to invest the extra time and money to ensure that the set is top-shelf.

That's not say that a lesser-known brand can't manufacture a very good TV; many do. But, generally speaking, I think that you'll find a name-brand TV manufacturer will produce a larger-screen set that offers a better picture than a no-name brand.
And if you're spending hundreds of dollars -- or more -- on a TV, you want to be sure that you go with a brand that's stood the test of time.




Now that said, there are times when buying a less expensive TV from a no-name brand makes sense.
 
For instance, if you're buying a smaller-screen TV -- 32 inches or less --
it might be wise to take a chance on a set that's less expensive than a comparably-sized TV from a big brand. With a set 32 inches or less, you really don't see much difference in picture quality in a name-brand TV and no-name brand TV.  The screen is so small (relatively) that the picture is going to be about the same.

So if a no-name brand TV is selling a 32-inch set for, let's say, $199, and a comparably-sized (and featured) TV from a big brand is $259 or more, well, give the less expensive TV a try. You might save a lot of money and get the same picture quality that you would from a name-brand TV.

Of course, before buying, read what customers and reviewers are saying about the no-name brand set. But if it appears that people are mostly positive about it, then go ahead and buy it. You'll save some money.

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at
swann@tvpredictions.com or at 703-505-3064.



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