HDTV: You Better Shop Around

Where did you buy your HDTV? Depending on your priorities and number of hours spent researching, you could have shopped at a chain store like Best Buy, a discount department store like Wal-Mart or Sears, or taken a risk and bought a set online from a store without a brick-and-mortar presence near you.

According to an iSuppli study of purchases from the fourth quarter of 2007, 40% of consumers went the consumer electronics chain route, while 23% went to a discount department store. Online purchases accounted for 18%.

While price seems to be the number one purchase-decision factor for consumers of all incomes, the iSuppli study found that product selection mattered more to consumers making more than $100,000, while those earning less than $25,000 cared primarily about the location of the store. But nobody seems to care about talking to a knowledgeable staff, the environment of the store, payment options at the store, or return policies - those shopping amenities ranked low for nearly everyone.

If you're like us, you chose your TV model first, then shop around for the best deal at all stores - online and real-world - that carry your set. That means store selection and location probably doesn't matter to you. So tell us, what does? -Rachel Rosmarin