Decision Time: Buy a New TV or Fix the Old Samsung?

Categories: Watching TV

Written By

June 16th, 2010

my TV - it looks much bigger and more intimidating in my living room than in this spec shot from Samsung

After 6.5 years of use, my 61" Samsung DLP  TV stopped working on Tuesday night.   Hopefully, all that's wrong is that the lamp needs to be replaced. I've never replaced the lamp and all the indicators are that's the most likely scenario.  But tech support advised it's possibly any of a few things including the lamp or possibly even all three at the same time, or perhaps something even more complicated.

If it's just the lamp, it only winds up around $100-$150 and that's something I can do myself.  If it's the two other things its a few hundred dollars on top of that, and of course if it's none of those things it winds up being much more expensive because I'd need to have a technician come look at it.

I've been very happy with the Samsung and if it's just $150 and replacing a lamp, that's fine.  But if it's one of those things where I am going to go down the rabbit hole of trying this, that and the other thing and wind up out $1,000 I'd probably rather just buy a new TV.

Now is a great time to buy an expensive new TV if you're an early adopter who likes paying a premium for being an early adopter.   You have LED sets and now 3D is out too.  Once Upon A Time I was one of those people.  I think Bill actually went with me Once Upon A Time when I went to a specialty store in 2001 to replace my first 42" plasma screen with a Pioneer Elite 50" plasma.   That was ridiculously expensive and costs more than anything that is currently in my home (and ironically, the 50" plasma is not currently in my home, but that's another story.)

I could blame no longer being an early adopter who doesn't mind paying a premium on the disparity of disposable income when you have a real job versus being a blogger, but the truth is I think I just finally aged out of that phase of my life.   LED and 3D technology will progress a lot over the next five years and if past history is an indicator, prices will come down substantially.   If Samsung wants to send me a brand new TV to evaluate, I won't snub them (or Sony, Panasonic, etc.), but otherwise I'm fine with waiting.

I had one friend who said, "Suck it up and buy a new TV! You can buy a TV that has WiFi and connects to the Internet!  You can watch Netflix and look at pictures, video and music from your computer right on your TV!"  I said, "But I have a PS3 and an X-Box that have WiFi, are connected to the Internet,  and allow me to watch Netflix and access pictures, video and music from my computer."  He says, "Yeah, but that's not as cool as having it built right into the TV."

My friend obviously hasn't aged out of his early adopter phase yet.  For me, it's exactly as cool as having it built right into the TV because it does the exact same thing.

Still, the specs on the new TVs -- even the ones that aren't 3D or LED sets -- are much better than my 6.5 year old TV, so I did start to browse a bit and it's all very reasonably priced compared to what I paid even for the 61" Samsung  at the end of 2003.  While I might have aged out of my early adopter phase, my technology genetics did twitch a bit.

Ultimately, the deciding factor for me was even if I wanted to buy a new TV,  new TVs don't get delivered as quickly as a pizzas.  Neither do replacement lamps for DLP sets for that matter, but I can't get a new TV delivered before early next week, and I can get the lamp shipped to me overnight (though at this point that means Friday.)

If you see a follow-up post titled "What TV Should I Buy?" you'll know how things went with the lamp replacement.

Update June 18, 2010:  The new lamp worked!

 
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