Buying a Holiday TV: Does Name Brand Matter?

In recent days, I’ve informed you of the latest discounts on TVs from retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart. Sometimes, the set has been a well-known brand while other times perhaps not. This prompts an obvious question: Should you buy a TV from a company you may not have heard of even if the price seems irresistible?

(The Amazon link is an affiliate links: this site receives a small percentage of sales from Amazon affiliate links.)

Brands such as onn, Westinghouse, Sceptre, Insignia and Element often advertise TVs at prices far lower than comparably-sized sets from name-brand manufacturers such as Samsung, Vizio, Sony and LG.

The prices can indeed be 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 be of 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 to say that a lesser-known brand can’t manufacture a very good TV; many do. But, generally speaking, I think 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.

(I will add a caveat here: If the price is relatively little, such as when Walmart’s onn brand last week was selling a 42-inch HDTV for $88, your risk is little as well and you might want to pull the trigger.)

Now that said, there are times when buying a less expensive TV from a no-name brand makes a lot of 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 compared to a 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, $88, and a comparably-sized (and featured) TV from a big brand is $149 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.

To see the best-selling TVs at Amazon, click here. 

(The Amazon link is an affiliate links: this site receives a small percentage of sales from Amazon affiliate links.)

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The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

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