Watch For In-Store Lighting Tricks When Purchasing Electronics

Watch For In-Store Lighting Tricks When Purchasing Electronics

The next time you’re in the market for an HDTV, be aware of the store’s lighting levels. Why? According to tech web site HDGuru, store lighting levels are purposefully tweaked to confuse consumers.

Photo by William Hook.

How exactly do stores trick customers into purchasing an HDTV they might not otherwise buy? By cranking up the lighting levels as much as 50 times typical home lighting conditions. According to HDGuru, "these intense levels can make the best displays with the blackest black levels and highest contrast levels look inferior to cheaper, lower performance displays." As a result, customers may purchase cheaper sets that aren't as good as advertised because they're basing their decisions on brightness levels.

To work around the potentially deceptive lighting, HDGuru offers the following tip:

Cup your hands forming a tunnel with your thumbs and index fingers making the front opening. Place the pinky side of your cupped hands against the TV screen and place your eye against the front opening. You will need to find or black area of the picture, if you're lucky, black bars will be present at the top and bottom of the screen on a letterboxed demo material. This will give you an idea of just how light the blacks are on different displays.

Check out the full link for all the details, then browse our post on how to avoid bait and switch scams when purchasing your digital camera.

How Retailers Use Lighting to Confuse HDTV Buyers [HDGuru via Gizmodo]


  • Haha…

    “Excuse me sir, what are you doing?”

    *Customer takes hands away from face and HDTV*

    “Oh, just trying to see through this window… But it’s pitch black on the other side! What’s in there..?”


    • the margins on a cheaper brand can be higher, and particularly if the make or model is not widely available elsewhere, it’s far easier to sell it at an inflated price.
      ie. when every store sells (Sony/Samsung/Panasonic/LG/etc) it’s hard to compete on price as many customers will shop around for the best deal, however, on a cheaper rebadged, ‘house brand’ TV (eg. RankArena/DSE/LCD/XMS/Hisense/Conwa/Pyrod/Baumann Meyer/Reality/Viewpia/Schaub Lorenz/etc) with bottom-grade components, there is no direct competition on pricing and the retailer makes much more profit.

      • Actually… in percentage terms, branded items have lower margins. Lesser known brands have higher margins. But branded items have higher market share. Take an example. Well known brands will have a profit of about 25%, and account for 80% of sales. The lesser known brand will have a profit of 50% or more, but account for 20% of sales.

      • First off, margins are rarely near 25%, let alone 50%, you’re fooling yourself if that’s what you believe.

        Secondly, if this does happen in your local store of a large chain, there’s a good chance that they don’t know either. Stores are set up by teams that fly around the country, and designed by head office. So don’t go giving your salesperson flak claiming that “You get extra bright lights so you can rip me off”, you’ll only make yourself look like an idiot and will get the salesperson off-side (possibly meaning no discounts).

        Don’t assume stores are out there to trick you, most of the time they focus on customer service, not the margin in every sale. In the end, you get what you pay for.

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