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Sound advice: Recommendations for 50-inch HDTVs

Associated Press

January 12, 2015


Q: I need a new HDTV and am looking to spend $400-600 on a 50-inch model. I am considering buying used on Craigslist, perhaps a plasma in this price range. Any thoughts on buying used, and any recommendations for my size and price range?

Chris Murphy, Simsbury, Conn.

A: You can get a new 50-inch HDTV for $400-$600. The only way I would consider a used one for that price if it was a high-end model in perfect condition, with a good ownership history. Most used HDTVs on Craigslist are horrendously overpriced, as sellers either look for a sucker or think their TV is worth much more than it is, simply because it is theirs. Most of the time a used TV will not have a warranty. I think the TV has to be very special, or the price exceptionally low, before it is worth taking the risk of buying a used one when you can get a new one for the same amount.

Some good 50-inch HDTVs for you to consider are the Vizio E-500i-B1 and M502-B1 for $499 and $599 respectively, the Samsung PN51F5300AFXZA plasma for $549. Some of the Insignia TVs from Best Buy have a really nice picture and can be purchased at very low prices.

Q: have a Fischer Studio Standard receiver CA-225A and double-cassette deck CRW225 that I got at a garage sale about 20 years ago. It has all worked well until recently, when my cassette player began having problems. I still get a sound when I turn it on and press "play", and the gears seem to engage, but the tape does not move and nothing plays. Is it worth trying to get it fixed, or should I just jettison it, or should I try to find another? I do have tapes I still play, but only occasionally.

If you think it is worth fixing, any ideas on how to find an electronics guy for this type of repair?

Marge Connoly, South Bend, Ind.

A:I am not a repairman, but it sounds to me like the tape deck needs a new belt. A belt replacement kit with an assortment of different-sized belts costs about $10 on eBay. I would suggest that you take off the cover and see if the belt is easily accessed. You may be able to change it yourself. Unfortunately, putting it in may not be as easy as changing a turntable belt. If you have to have it repaired professionally I think best-case you are looking at about $25 in labor at a minimum if you have someone do it for you. There are reasons you may want to just fix it. You know its history, at least the last 20 years of it, and it will match the receiver since they come from the same brand and model series.

My gut feeling is that you should just replace it with another used tape deck. You can find dozens of used tape decks on Craigslist for under $30. I did a search in my own area and there were five listed for $25, and all of them looked to be newer and of better quality than your Fisher. There tend to be lots of old tape decks in thrift stores, too.