Home Electronics

Written by Charles Peacock
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If you've got a passion for gadgets, now is a good time to be alive. The home electronics market really took off in the 1980s, when the Japanese began producing high-quality electronic components at low prices. Now that the production of electronics and computer equipment has spread to the rest of Asia (not to mention the Americas and Europe), we are living in a time of unparalleled access to advanced, incredibly useful home technology.

There was a time when "made in China" or "made in Taiwan" was the kiss of death for any consumer item. Quality control in those countries wasn't the best, and (deserved or not) they had a bad reputation for producing shoddy consumer goods. These days, more and more multinational companies have shifted some or all of their manufacturing to Asia, and the quality of the products being produced in the East is rising every day.

The principal reason for the ever-decreasing cost (and ever-increasing quality) of consumer electronics is the perpetual shrinking of the all-powerful microchip. Computing tasks that took a building full of tubes and switches to perform only a few years ago can now be routinely handled by chips that would fit on top of your fingernail. A wonderful example of this phenomenon can be found by mentally comparing the very first VCR you owned to the one you have today. The size and weight of the old one was undoubtedly far more substantial than today's models.

Great Home Electronics Buys

Since home electronics producers have become so ubiquitous, there is quite literally a glut of products on the market. With so many manufacturers competing for your dollar, they're constantly fighting each other to produce a better product for a few dollars less. The result is that you can get some amazing buys from electronics retailers.

If you don't have the budget to always be buying the absolute top-line models of electronics, you're really in luck. One rule I always stand by when purchasing electronics is to avoid the urge to have the latest and greatest. Unless you're looking into a piece of equipment that simply did not exist a year ago, it can really benefit you to shop for models that have been around for a little while.

Computers are a great example of technology that can be acquired cheaply if you're a smart buyer. Everyone is obsessed with processor speed, but the reality is that the top speeds of three to four years ago were more than sufficient to handle the needs of 90 per cent of consumers. Put down that brand new 3.5ghz laptop and look for one with something in the range of one to two gigahertz.

More Tips for Buying Electronics

You would be amazed at how fast a three-year-old computer actually is. That said, you may be wondering why they're even bothering to come out with faster and faster processors. The answer is that manufacturers and retailers want to keep selling you products, and by convincing everyone that they have to have the newest and fastest processor, they can keep you coming back to their stores.

Of course, the time will come to replace your current computer (or TV, or DVD player). And I'm not suggesting that you go out and buy a used one. The best thing to do is to simply shop smart: look for models that have been discontinued or are about to be. You'll find substantial savings and I'm quite sure you'll still be very pleased with your purchase.

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