Interestingly, the price of LG’s 55EA9800 curved OLED TV has fallen quite a bit despite being the only one of its kind in Singapore. Initially launched back in October last year and costing S$14,999 (US$12,051.26), the recommended retail price has recently been adjusted to S$9,999 (US$8,033.91). While this is still a hefty amount for a 55-incher, the S$5,000 (US$4,017.35) cost saving is quite significant in a short 4-month timespan.
In fact, LG is offering an even better deal in the US, complete with a US$1,000 cash rebate in addition to a new US$7,999 price tag. Meanwhile, three UK retailers are enticing consumers there with a generous 3,000-pound (U$5,000) discount.
However, prices of colossal ultra high-definition (UHD) TVs in 84- and 85-inch sizes appear to be holding steady so far. Samsung’s S$49,999 (US$40,172.75) 85S9 and Sony’s S$35,999 (US$28,924.15) Bravia KD-84X9000 are still going at pretty much the same launch price, except for the LG 84LM9600 which now costs S$2,000 (US$1,606.94) less, at S$22,999 (US$18,479.03).
Haven’t cut the cable cord yet in favor of free or low-cost Internet TV options? You’re not alone. The majority of Americans still watch TV through traditional paid cable services, according to media market research company Nielsen.
SEE ALSO: How to Wipe Out 33 Pesky Fees
Unfortunately, as you know, cable TV can be pricey. But you can keep the cost of watching your favorite shows and movies under control with these seven strategies.
1. Trim back on channels. Do you really need hundreds of channels? You’re probably not even watching most of them, so you can save big by switching from a premium cable package to a basic package. I cut my cable bill by $80 a month when I did this. Basic packages tend to include the major networks, ESPN, Disney, Nickelodeon and many other popular channels. What you lose, primarily, are the movie channels. To replace them at a much lower cost, you can sign up for a movie streaming service such as Netflix for $7.99 a month or VUDU for as little as $2 a movie. Or you can rent DVDs for $1 a night from Redbox kiosks.
2. Keep up with promotions. Cable companies are constantly adding promotions to attract new customers, but current customers often can take advantage of these deals, too, says consumer expert Andrea Woroch. She recommends calling your cable company or checking its Web site every six months to find out whether it’s offering any promotions, such as free movie channels. When you’re asking about promotions, also find out whether your cable company offers discounts if you sign up for paperless statements or automated payments.
3. Evaluate feature usage. Woroch says that many consumers sign up for full-feature cable packages that include cable boxes in every room, along with DVR function and other bells and whistles. However, she says that you probably don’t need a cable box in the guest bedroom that rarely gets used, nor do your school-aged children need DVR capabilities. The monthly fees for these extras might seem minimal, but eliminating them can amount to savings of up to $100 or more over the course of a year.
4. Buy an antenna. For $40, you can buy an HDTV antenna, such as the Mohu Leaf, to get access to local channels. Woroch says they’re great options for people who want to reduce their cable bill by limiting the number of cable boxes they have. You can hook the antenna up to that guest room TV so visitors have something to watch or the kitchen TV that you just turn on to watch the news while making dinner. Woroch recommends looking online to find the best prices for HDTV antennas and looking for retailers’ coupon codes to get an even better deal.
5. Turn off cable equipment when not in use. You can lower the overall cost of having cable TV — not just your cable bill — by turning off cable receivers, DVRs and other related equipment when these electronics are not in use. Connect them all to a power strip that you can turn off with one switch. Woroch says that you can save $40 a year per cable box by doing this.
6. Threaten to leave. Check with other cable providers or satellite TV providers in your area to see if they have packages or promotions at prices that beat what you’re currently paying. If so, then ask your cable company whether it’s willing to match a competitor’s price. Be sure to speak with a supervisor, who has more power to make changes to your plan and bill. If you threaten to switch to another provider, Woroch says you’ll likely find that your cable company has some great offers to share with you. By sticking with your current company at a lower rate, you can avoid setup fees with a new provider.
7. Switch to satellite TV. You might find that you can get all the channels you want at a lower price with a satellite TV provider. For example, Dish Network’s cheapest plan is $19.99 a month versus $39.99 for Comcast’s basic cable TV plan. The two major satellite companies, Dish Network and DirecTV, often have promotions for a free satellite dish and installation. Worried that switching to satellite TV means giving up local channels? There’s a good chance you won’t have to. Both Dish Network and DirecTV provide local channels in most locations.
Final note: Cable, satellite and telecom companies advertise bundles of services — TV, Internet and phone — as a way to save money. You’ll see discounts on Internet and phone services in these packages, but bundling doesn’t usually lower the cost of TV services. And there are better ways to save on the other services, Woroch says. For example, you could drop your landline and use your cell phone only, use free or low-cost VoIP services such as Skype or Vonage, or make free calls using the Ooma Telo device.
This Sharp 650U, originally priced at $2,500, strikes the right balance between cost and quality, Katzmaier says. Like other smart TVs, it has built-in Wi-Fi so you can stream movies, listen to Pandora or other music services, browse the Web or check Facebook and other social media sites. You can link your smart phone or tablet with it to share content and use your smart device as a remote. It also has a wallpaper mode that allows you to display artwork or photos from a USB drive so you don’t have to stare at a big black screen when you’re not actually watching TV. The slightly smaller 60-inch Sharp 650U also is a good deal now ($997.99 at bhphotovideo.com, down from $1,197.99) and is on PCMag.com’s top-ten best HDTVs list.
Online only price: $1697.99 at Sears.com. See current price.
This Panasonic costs as much the 70-inch Sharp listed below, but it’s one of the best TVs CNET has ever reviewed, Katzmaier says. PCMag.com also says that it’s one of the best plasma TVs Panasonic has produced and places it on its top-ten list. Talk about bells and whistles: This 3-D HDTV has a built-in camera, built-in media player, voice control and built-in Wi-Fi so you can stream movies and browse the Web. It’s the picture quality, though, that makes this plasma TV stand out from the pack, Ramirez says. Panasonic has stopped making plasma TVs. So any bargain you can find on one of Panasonic’s highly rated plasmas is a good deal, he says. It’s on clearance at Best Buy, which has marked down the price by $500.
For $1,000 less, we found a quality Vizio E601i-A3 marked down to $800 from $1,000 at Target. You won’t get the same picture quality as with the Panasonic, but you’ll get a big TV for a much smaller price.
$1799.86, BestBuy.com. See current price.
This 55-inch Vizio 3-D HDTV, originally priced at $1,200, is a steal below $1,000. PCMag.com lists it as one of the top ten best TVs because of its quality and price. Katzmaier calls it one of the best-performing LED TVs for the money. It’s a thin 1.75 inches, has sleek styling, built-in WiFi, and eight pairs of 3-D glasses, which is rare for any 3-D TV, Ramirez says. And it is selling at $700 less than all but the best 55-inch TVs from Samsung and Sony.
$998 on Amazon.com. See current price.
Amazon has lowered its price on this 3-D plasma TV by 41%. Its excellent smart TV package and great picture quality (in all but the brightest rooms) make this Samsung a good buy, Katzmaier says. It comes with two pairs of 3-D glasses, voice interaction, a touch pad remote, and multiple connectivity options including Wi-Fi, Ethernet and Bluetooth.
$797.99 at Amazon.com. See current price.
This HDTV series comes in a range of sizes, and Katzmaier says that they all are great bargains considering the level of picture quality they deliver. Although this Vizio smart TV is missing sports apps such as MLB.TV, it has a good selection of on-demand services and social media including Netflix, Vudu, Skype, Facebook and Pandora. For a similar-sized TV at a much lower price, the 42-inch Sharp LC-42LB150U is on sale at Best Buy for $399.99. However, this TV doesn’t have the smart features that the Vizio does.
$578 on Amazon.com. See current price.
This is one of the best 32-inch HDTVs at this price level for several reasons, says Katzmaier, who developed CNET’s TV test procedure. It offers solid picture quality and has a higher display resolution than many of the cheaper models (1080p versus 720p). This LED model also has Samsung’s Smart TV suite, whereas the similar but cheaper UNF5000 series does not. The “smart” designation means that it has built-in Wi-Fi and allows access to on-demand video streaming from services such as Netflix as well as access to social media, music and more. Dealnews.com senior editor Louis Ramirez says that 32-inch TVs generally don’t come with as many features as this model. Even better, he says, it has three HDMI ports, which means you can connect more components to it, whereas cheaper TVs in this size category typically have only two HDMI ports. The current Amazon sale price is about 40% lower than its list price of $579.
$347.99, on Amazon.com. See current price.