COMMENT: Are consumers taking a chance buying unknown cheap Asian flat panel TVs? The answer is yes. And during the next peak TV buying period which kicks off in late August you will see a swag of bottom end brands appear from the likes of Daewoo, Conia, Hicon and Konka.
These are brands that are normally associated with third tier players who get the price down by using cheap components, casings and panels. They are also brands that you never see being reviewed by magazines like SmartHouse simply because the distributors and vendors behind the products are doing little to promote the brands.
Instead they rely on mass market retailers to spin a yarn on just “how good” these products are. They also tend to buy retailer advertising packages in “sale” catalogues” There are no shoot outs against brands like Sharp , Sony, Toshiba or in the plasma market; Panasonic, Pioneer or Hitachi.
Many of these brands have poor menus or limited input capability for audio and additional devices, and in the models that I have seen, none had HDMI input. Though this may change with the new generation that will hit stores later this year.
Where consumers have been given the opportunity to comment on some of these brands in online forums, the comments are generally negative. For example with the Conia brand comments at product review www.productreview.com.au included such reference as ” Too few audio inputs. Colour very poor, doesn’t “remember” previous settings ie, you have to scroll through all the AV settings all the time rather than the set returning to a previous setting. More suited to European market than Australian market.”
“Generally poor design,” and another comment was ” Pros – Good price for an LCD. Cons – Crap menus, crap colours, crap sound, Annoying handle at the back. Overall – Not worth the purchase.”
These type of brands are normally third tier brands that come after the like of Samsung, Sony, Sharp and Toshiba in the top tier, BenQ, Acer, ViewSonic in the second tier Conia, Hicon and others in the bottom tier.
Yes you will get a cheap TV but the risks are enormous. For the sake of only a couple of hundred dollars it is best to go with a known brand which in many cases have fallen in price dramatically during the past few months. Even Sony LCD TVs are selling for sub $1,800.