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‘Disposable’ HD Sets Already?

One of the first things beyond picture quality that typically grabs a consumer’s attention when looking to purchase that first HD set is price. In any given store, especially the big boxes like Wal-Mart, Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club, brand-names LCD and plasma sets go for as much as $200 to $500 more than comparable-looking units (at least to the untrained eye) made by brands that are hardly household names.

One viewer of WCPO-TV, the ABC affiliate in Cincinnati (DMA no. 33), told the station her “TruTech” brand HD set was more like “No Def.” According to the station Web site, the viewer said about one month after her one-year warranty ended, her LCD set went dark. She said she immediately called Target, where she bought it, but was told the store couldn’t help because the warranty had run out. (A Target spokeswoman said a typical TruTech brand product normally would last for many years.)

To make matters worse, the woman said she was told by TV repair shops in the Cincinnati area that her particular brand of HD set could not be fixed – simply because no one has bothered to supply any repair shops with parts or instructions on how to fix them. One repair shop guy, the station said, told her some discount-store HD units were selling for such low prices that apparently having to spend the time and resources to ever have to repair any of them was not of paramount concern to the manufacturers (whose identity was never really uncovered, but probably involved a number of legitimate parties).

Some other newer brands of inexpensive HD monitors in big box stores can come with warranties longer than one year, and set-up and back-up support from the stores themselves (such as Costco and Sam’s Club) is included, or can be purchased.