Last month we purchased a broken 46" Samsung LCD TV for a DIY repair project. When we realized that fixing the screen was cost prohibitive (i.e., way, way too expensive), we managed to sell it for parts (at a profit, no less) to someone looking to swap out some boards in another unit that had a working screen. This past month, the interns have been scanning Craigslist looking for another unit for a repair project and they started seeing something interesting: more and more working LCD units were showing up at very reasonable prices. The sizes ranged from 40" to 52" with prices from $400 to $750. The LCDs for sale were not off-brands neither. They were Sony, Samsung, Sharp, etc...
We found another surprise when we emailed many of the sellers. Most of them were open to further price negotiations. And then it dawned on us: it was the end of the university school year and many of the students realized that moving a large-screen TV would be both costly and awkward. The screens are prone to breakage, prices for new LCD TVs are dropping, and there are many used ones for sale on Craigslist. It was the "perfect storm" for buyers looking to snag a used one at a very attractive price.
After a bit of wheeling-and-dealing, we got this 46" Sony Bravia at about 75% off the list price from a local college student. This Sony Bravia comes with all of the features we were looking for in an LCD TV. It has two HDMI ports, a computer port, and a bunch of the component inputs. There is even one on the side to make it convenient to attach a video camera or a video iPod.
Craigslist is a great marketplace. The majority of people selling and buying on Craigslist are honest. However, as with anything where cash changes hands, there will be good and bad people. It is important to be smart to be safe. Whenever possible, we like to do our Craigslist transactions at a coffee shop. Obviously, this is not practical for a large-screen TV or any big item. In those instances, go with your gut feeling, bring one or two friends, and do the transactions early in the day. If you are in the market for a used large-screen LCD, this is the best time to find one. The "deals" will likely last until the end of June. Good luck LCD TV hunting!
BTW, it's pretty clear we are not going to get around doing a DIY LCD repair article any time soon. We will, instead, be showing readers how to mount our new 46" Sony Bravia screen onto the wall. We reviewed a bunch of LCD mounts last month. We have one more mount to look at before we decide which one we will use for the project. This last mount is a fully articulated one that can both tilt and swivel. We got ours from DIY Home Theater Supply. If you are doing a home theater installation or needs anything related to audio or video (cables, wall plates, etc...), save yourself some time and make them your first and last stop. They certainly had the best prices we've found for LCD mounts. If you want to check out the mount before the write-up, go here. We will have the FirstLook posted by the beginning of June. The DIY installation article should be ready by the end of that month. [Permalink] -LCD TV Hunting