Buyers Beware: Holiday Electronics

With the official start of the holiday shopping season almost a week old, I thought it was time to find some of those products that you may have on your Christmas list and tell you why you should wait until after the holidays before you cross them off. After all, any savings will help you buy something else, right? So without further ado, here’s a list of products that are currently way overpriced. Please feel free to share your list of products in the comments.

Cowon A3Cowon A3 Portable Media Player: If you’re in the mood for something a bit different than your current PMP, the Cowon A3 is not a good place to start. Sure, it’s quite powerful (it sports a 800×480 screen and supports DivX, Ogg, MP3 and AAC), but at $350 for 30GB and $400 for 60GB, your money is better spent elsewhere.

VizioHDTVs: Did this one surprise you? It shouldn’t. Run down to your local Best Buy or even Costco and chances are you’ll find a slew of HDTVs that are priced exceptionally high. And while Costco may offer some lower-priced alternatives — like a Vizio or Westinghouse HDTV — do you really want to fork out more than $1,000 on a device that cannot perform as well as a comparably equipped $3,000 HDTV, when the $3,000 device will hit that magical sub-$2,000 mark within the next six months? If you must have that HDTV before Christmas, then I guess there’s no stopping you. But if you’re willing to wait until the Super Bowl is over, you’ll be able to get a much nicer one for a fraction of the price.

DellComputers: Computers have sat near the top of Christmas lists for the past 15 years, but I can’t help but wonder why that it is. After all, that same computer will be available after Christmas and as long as it’s not a Mac, look for the price to drop significantly once CES is over. Save yourself some cash and wait for that high-end Dell to come down in price.

TiVoTiVo Series 3 HD DVR: Am I the only person in the world who thinks the TiVo Series 3 is overpriced? Sure, TiVo is a great service, and it easily eclipses the functionality I’m currently getting out of the Scientific-Atlanta box from my cable company, but I’m only paying $7 per month for that. The TiVo will set you back at least $400 (after a mail-in rebate), plus a monthly charge. Simply put, I can’t justify spending that kind of money. Look for the price to drop after Christmas — it’s due.

But if you can’t help but spend some cash this holiday season, I’d suggest the iPod Touch. Not only does it offer the best iPod experience I’ve ever witnessed, it comes in at a nicely affordable price: $299.

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who covers everything from Google to HDTVs. He currently writes for over 15 popular technology publications, including CNET’s Digital Home, InformationWeek and Future Publishing in the UK.


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