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Import an option?

Discussion in 'LCD & LED LCD TVs Forum' started by guypb, Aug 18, 2005.

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  1. guypb

    guypb
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    I like most people would like to enjoy what the Americans appear to have been enjoying for some time now - a 37+" LCD tv capable of 1920x1080 resolution & HDMI input.

    From what I see, there is nothing available in the UK at present (but I am sure you will prove me wrong!).

    Anyway, what is the downside of importing - I am sure one could find a cheap importer that would offset the tax etc. I realise the plug would be different - but what else?

    I am sure this is a numpty question so go easy!
     
  2. David Mackenzie

    David Mackenzie
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    First up, can you tell me if there are any importers around? Because I'm going to be importing my next 26" Sony LCD.

    The differences:

    1. Voltage. A lot of US sets are made to work on 110v 60hz only. You will need a stepdown transformer powerful enough to work with the TV. Download the US manual and take the back page (with the tech info) to a store that sells stepdowns. They will give you what you need. Luckily, my Sony set works on UK voltage without the need for a stepdown.

    2. Tuner. You will not be able to use the TV's built-in tuner to watch TV. You'll need Sky, Cable, Freeview, or another device that has its own tuner, like a video recorder.

    3. SCART. SCART is a European standard only. You have two options for showing SCART stuff on a US TV - if the signal is RGB SCART buy an expensive RGB SCART to Component transcoder from www.jstechnology.com . Or, get the device to output S-Video instead, and use a SCART to S-Video cable or adapter to feed it to the American TV. Personally, seeing the back of this horrible connector is something I'll greatly enjoy when I get my new TV.

    4. PAL video. Most LCDs do, but make absolutely sure that the US TV accepts PAL video over the video inputs and also PAL HDTV over the HDMI/Component inputs. Nowadays, I'm hoping that the guts of most sets are the same worldwide so this shouldn't be too big of an issue - but make totally sure.

    5. Warranty. You won't get one. Unless in event of a fault you can send it back to the US supplier (or if you bought it from a UK importer - in which case I want to know more - they might honour the warranty for you).

    Also you won't get Teletext (I'm sure that will give you many sleepless nights :rotfl: )

    Good on you for being brave enough to consider this, it makes me feel safer about the fact that I'm also going to do it.
     
  3. pjskel

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    If you do import, and a non European brand (Westinghouse, etc) then your screwed if the set arrives damaged or develops a fault at some point withing its warranty period.
    The in-built tuner (analog presumably, and digital) will not likely be setup to accept PAL signals, so the only connection you're going to be able to really use, will be the Component/S-Video/VGA/DVI-HDCP/HDMI (if the latter 2 are even catered for) ones. So an outboard box will be required, and as such, you can kiss goodbye to watching 1-5 whilst recording the output of the box, unless you use 2 decoders or one with twin decoders.
    Because of the PAL issue, you'll then need another box to do 50:60 conversion, and you'll have no other choice but to put up with the judder that results on a regular cycle.
    So, perhaps you'd better stick with CRT for a bit longer until European/UK 1080 displays start appearing in numbers, or buy a 32" 768 equipped display, and change it in 2-3 years time when those 1080s are down in price, and in more abundant supply.
    Then you can buy an outboard scaler which will do your 1080 panel justice.

    Still thinking of importing then? :laugh:
     
  4. David Mackenzie

    David Mackenzie
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    No, that's not necessarily true. As I said in my post, most LCD TVs in the US accept 50hz signals fine. I know the Sharp ones do for a fact.

    Yes I am. My next Sony LCD will be coming from America, assuming it works properly with 50hz signals. I will be getting three sets of Component inputs and also the VGA input that was removed from the Euro version. So I'll be the one laughing ;)

    A lot of people seem very dismissive of importing because they're scared to admit that the US gets a better deal. Well, I'm not. Just a few years ago, I was still buying European games consoles. If I was still doing that, I'd be having to wait ages for new games, and play some of them as squashed, badly converted PAL versions - a lot of the time, I wouldn't even get progressive scan! I refuse to accept that just because something was designed for use across the water that I can't use it here.

    Your point about warranty is valid though. If my Sony set develops a fault, I'll box it up and return it to my shipping agent, who will return it to Sony for repair. Then, it'll be returned to me. I'll pay for shipping of course, but it's better than having a broken TV. Another way of thinking about it is, I could get the import version and risk it breaking, but the European version's reduced functionality means it's in a sense broken to start with! It's very rare for a TV from a good quality manufacturer to need servicing soon anyway.
     
  5. mooseepoo

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    All i can say is look through the Taiyi Thread about my nightmare with importing a TV!

    Yes it was bought off Ebay, but the seller of it is the actual manufacturers!

    TV Stopped working, and I have waited (and still waiting) over 3 months for a refund after sending the TV back!
     
  6. David Mackenzie

    David Mackenzie
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    That was in Taiwan though, right? Without a shipping agent? And was it from a reliable brand to start with?

    My way of thinking is this. People import D-VHS players, scalers, and other expensive items. I don't see why it should be any different for modestly sized displays.
     
  7. mooseepoo

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    It was a supposedly reptuable brand in Japan/Taiwan!

    At the end of the day, and I will be the 1st to admit it... I was looking to get a nice TV at a cheap price!

    I now have the Samsung LE32R41BDX and (although it has the tearing problems) is a fantastic TV and actually cost only a bit more than the Taiyi TV!
     
  8. David Mackenzie

    David Mackenzie
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    Hmmm - might just be me, but if the brand are so reputable, I'd have heard of them no matter what country I lived in. The reason I'm importing my next Sony though is because they've downgraded the European versions again. The import will probably end up costing me more.
     
  9. brakepad

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    Considered this myself for something like the Westinghouse 37" but decided that it wasn't really practical. Duty on LCD TVs is about 14% (0% on monitors, but only if they can't take a 'video' input), plus 17.5% VAT, plus shipping which could be several hundred dollars, plus whatever customs decide to charge you for handling & repacking (I notice that nobody seems to quote even approximate figures for what they can charge for this), plus the cost of a transformer and maybe a converter or two.

    Add that lot up and you might make a small saving, but should anything go wrong you'll very quickly be out of pocket.

    I guess you could save a bit on the shipping if you brought it back yourself, and maybe even avoid the VAT if you could find a big enough suitcase to hide it in!
     
  10. televisionuser

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    Why the need to import a Sony? Is it seriously worth it just to have VGA and a couple of extra component inputs. As breakpad says, you'll be paying 14% duty, 17.5% vat, shipping, clearing fee. No warranty included either.

    You're probably better off buying an lcd tv in the UK from a reputable brand such as Loewe for the same amount or less.
     
  11. pjskel

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    In response to Lyris's post with my quotes - yes, I know you are importing, but it's not because of lack of 1080 resolution at a given size. You're doing it due to connectivity reasons, and a worldwide brand.
    The OP didn't state which brand, and Westinghouse is one that I know of, doing 1080 panels at 37", but since WH don't have a European counterpart, then all dealings with any problems will have be either directly with them, or the dealer where it was purchased from.
    So, there's a world of difference between your reasons and intended importation compared to the OPs. His only saving grace may be if he went for the Benq TV, but only insomuch as having Benq here in the UK to offer some (limited) assistance in the event of problems. He's still stuck with the on-board NTSC tuner and that the one sold in the US won't necessarily accept PAL signals.
    Sharp ones do, probably because it's a global brand, and therefore easier in manufacture to leave most standards in and change only what NEEDS to be changed, whereas WH are US/Canada only, and have no need to cater for PAL.
     
  12. David Mackenzie

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    Yeah Televisionuser, for me it is worth it. I've worked out an approximate price as closely as I can (it's about 1300 pounds for the 26" XBR version) and I'm happy with that. It really doesn't seem that bad a price when you consider what some people pay for them in retail stores here.

    Also it seems that over here, we pay less for this sort of thing. British online stores seem to give huge savings - not quite as such in America.
     
  13. televisionuser

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    If you are going to import, it's probably best to buy that kind of thing if you plan on going over to the US or get a friend/relative over there to ship it for you.
     
  14. Bill S

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    Westinghouse 37" 1920x1080 may not be available in EU but the Benq equivalent would appear to have arrived: http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=236477
    37" - 1920x1080 - PAL/NTSC - DVI/HDCP - 240v - 50/60Hz - £1100
    Price includes VAT
    I think they're asking for local agents.....
     

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