Tis the season to give or receive a new giant-screen 4K or 8K Ultra HDTV, and as you begin the process of unboxing and setting up that new jewel, we’d like to offer a word of caution: TVs today don’t always make it to the 7 to 10 years average life expectancy.

We’ve got many readers who can tell you.

In fact, many of the most affordable models from even some of the biggest and best-known TV brands can run into problems due to bad components, faulty board assemblies and failed LCD or OLED panels. Many times this occurs just after the manufacturer’s one-year warranty expires.

Of course, if the problem arises within the first year of purchase the manufacturer’s warranty should cover the repair or replacement, but after that, you might find you’re on your own. Some brands are much worse than others concerning their after-warranty service and support policies, and it frequently happens that the better the deal (the cheaper the price for the perceived advanced feature set) the more frustrated you will be if the product craps out in two or three years.

Toting a 65- or 75-inch big-screen TV to the local recycling station prematurely will generate one of the worst feelings in the world. That’s not to mention the environmental impact it’s making.

Unfortunately, we get reader messages all the time about failed televisions that didn’t make it very far, so remember and heed these words: Sometimes a good deal on the right extended warranty either during the purchase or up to 60 to 90 days after the purchase can bring you peace of mind for years to come.

Most 4K Ultra HDTV and Full HDTVs can be considered quite reliable, with big-name brands like Samsung, LG, Sony, TCL, Hisense and others generally scoring high marks on consumer surveys. But a lot fail, and we don’t want to see you get stuck. We outline for you here the steps you should take when you make your purchase (or receive that gift) to guard against this eventuality.

To begin, we consider small TVs that sell for under $200 more or less disposable Don’t waste your money on an extended warranty here, but big screen models cost real money. If you’re on a fixed income, or plan to finance your purchase, we first and foremost strongly recommend sticking with those brands that have an excellent reputation for product reliability and customer service.

And beware of well-reviewed models that might look and sound great in the store but have received scores elsewhere rated on features and price alone.

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After that we have a few tips that might help you down the line:

• Pay for your TV using an American Express or MasterCard that specifies an extended warranty policy on products purchased with it. These options typically involve a free doubling of the manufacturer’s warranty for up to one year parts and labor. This usually means two years total coverage.

• If you can’t use one of the above cards, or want to take advantage of a store’s free financing deal—or simply desire longer-term peace of mind—a SquareTrade extended warranty from Amazon, Costco or directly from the SquareTrade web site can be a great deal that big screen HDTV and UHDTV buyers should not pass up!

People who purchased or received a big screen TV costing between $1,250-$1,499.99 can purchase a 5-year protection plan from SquareTrade through Amazon.com, for $99.08. This covers mechanical and electrical failures during normal use, with 100% parts and labor. SquareTrade provides 24/7 support, promises “fast repairs” or replacements (depending on the issue) and free shipping on all repairs without deductibles or hidden fees.

A similar policy costing $31.04 is available for a TV model purchased for between $250-$299.99.

A policy costing $20.78 covers a TV model purchased for between $300-$349.99.

A policy costing $38.55 covers a TV model purchased for between $350-$399.99.

A policy costing $26.72 covers a TV model purchased for between $400-$449.99.

A policy costing $29.70 covers a TV model purchased for between $450-$499.99.

A policy costing $47.48 covers a TV model purchased for between $500-$599.99.

A policy costing $55.41 covers a TV model purchased for between $600-$699.99.

A policy costing $63.33 covers a TV model purchased for between $700-$799.99.

A policy costing $71.26 covers a TV model purchased for between $800-$899.99.

A policy costing $79.18 covers a TV model purchased for between $900-$999.99.

A policy costing $82.55 covers a TV model purchased for between $1,000-$1,249.99.

A policy costing $99.08 covers a TV model purchased for between $1,250-$1499.99.

A policy costing $115.60 covers a TV model purchased for between $1,500-$1,749.99.

A policy costing $132.12 covers a TV model purchased for between $1,750-$1,999.99.

A policy costing $148.64 covers a TV model purchased for between $2,000-$2,249.99.

A policy costing $165.16 covers a TV model purchased for between $2,250-$2,499.99.

A policy costing $181.69 covers a TV model purchased for between $2,500-$2,749.99.

A policy costing $198.21 covers a TV model purchased for between $2,750-$2,999.99.

A policy costing $237.45 covers a TV model purchased for between $3,000-$3,999.99.

A policy costing $330.38 covers a TV model purchased for between $4.000-$4,999.99.

A policy costing $396.46 covers a TV model purchased for between $5,000-$5,999.99.

A policy costing $495.60 covers a TV model purchased for between $6,000-$6,999.99.

A policy costing $528.64 covers a TV model purchased for between $7,000-$7,999.99.

Another option, which provides bargains on very large-screen televisions, is offered by Costco. The warehouse club offers members a SquareTrade three-year extended warranty for $99.99 on televisions costing $1,000 and up. According to the warehouse club’s terms, Costco Members may purchase SquareTrade warranty plans for new TVs bought from a Costco warehouse, Costco.com or any authorized U.S. retailer. The retailer also offers those who buy the television from Costco its own added year of coverage, giving the purchaser of both the TV and a 3-year Square Trade warranty through Costco a total of five years coverage.

The plan must be purchased within 90 days of purchase in a Costco warehouse or from Costco.com. If the TV is purchased outside of Costco from an authorized retailer in the U.S., then the service plan must be purchased within 60 days from receipt of the TV. You’ll generally get one year of coverage from the manufacturer warranty, and three years thereafter from SquareTrade.

Costco and SquareTrade also offer a 3-year warranty for $34.99 for TVs costing less than $500.

Some restrictions apply: You must buy the TV from an authorized dealer (or Costco), and the plan must be added within 60 days of your purchase (90 days if the TV came from Costco). The three-year warranty comes on top of the manufacturer’s own warranty. For example, Sony, Samsung and LG UHDTVs come with a 12-month parts and labor warranty, so that’s 5 years total coverage if TV and warranty are purchased through Costco, 4 years total if the SquareTrade plan only is purchased from Costco and the TV was purchased from an authorized retailer in the U.S.

We can verify from experience that SquareTrade provides reliable no-hassle repair or in some cases replacement coverage on legitmate product failures due to manufacturer defect. We compared TV prices from Best Buy and Amazon (with UPP link they are about the same) along with the Best Buy Geek Squad protection plan pricing and the SquareTrade/Costco deal on TVs above $1000 is one of the best deals out there.

SquareTrade warranties are also available directly through the SquareTrade web site and as an add-on to a TV sale made through Amazon. See the Amazon price  links above for corresponding SquareTrade warranties to the TV you purchased. In many cases, you’ll find significant savings purchasing the SquareTrade warranty from Costco as a member, even if you purchased the TV from another (authorized U.S.) dealer. You’ll also find in some cases significant savings compared to buying the TV from the protection plan offered by many retail chains.

Bottom Line: For big screen sizes, the price for the Costco SquareTrade protection plan is so low, we can’t see why anyone would pass it up.

Note: prices are correct as of posting and may change at any time. Please verify with our links. This was an updated version of an earlier article posted on HD Guru.com.

 

By Greg Tarr

 

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