Why You Shouldn't Buy Off-Brand TVsS

Following up our cheap HDTV battlemodo, the HD Guru (who helped us out there) has three reasons why you shouldn't buy TVs from what he calls "tier three" brands like Insignia: price, quality and comparison.

On the price front, as many of you pointed out in the comments of the cheap TV battlemodo, the price difference between cheaper "Walmart" sets and name-brand ones is increasingly miniscule: The Toshiba Regza that trounced all was only slightly pricier, and there were plenty of Black Friday deals on sets from Panasonic and Samsung that brought them under $900.

The price thing wouldn't matter so much if you got the same thing across the board for your money, but you often don't. The HD Guru says that lower tier manufacturers might skimp on construction, using lower quality power supplies, for instance, with repair costs running as high as purchasing a whole new set. Besides, as you can see over the HD Guru site, the warranties tend to be less robust.

And on comparison, well, they tend to lose to the name brand competition. He says that the reason Vizio's plasma lost our battlemodo to the Toshiba Regza LCD is that it might have used a cheaper, older generation panel bought from a panel maker's excess inventory, since it performed similarly to panels from Tier 1 manufacturers made years ago.

Of course, that doesn't mean they're universally terrible sets—as we mentioned in the battlemodo, even the cheapest sets are going to be a whole new world compared to whatever standard def set you've got in your living room, and many people never experience problems with their "Tier 3" TVs. If you've got one, how's the ride been? At the same time, with name brand TVs often just as cheap, why not go with the (more) sure thing? [HD Guru]