AARP Eye Center
We'll get to the cables in a second. First:
My household just bought a pretty plasma television, and I can admit now - it was worth it. Was it my idea? Nope, I was just fine with our projector spaceage-size television. Nothing convinces me like high-definition football, though.
For a nerd, I was pretty unprepared for this purchase. Plasma or LCD? Uhh. 1080-what-huh? Let's get back to talking about operating systems and the motivations of people who use Twitter. And of course, right after I made it, AARP goes and posts this awesome dummies' guide to buying a HD TV. So you're set. Bookmark that. Print a pocket guide. Done.
Let's talk accessories for a minute, though. Walk into your average electronics retailer over the next few months, and they'll have plenty of very pretty televisions at very pretty prices. Guess what? Those pretty prices don't have much - or any - profit built into them. Most of the items headlining your average Black Friday sale are sold below their wholesale price - so that store doesn't make money on the TV, the computer, or the GPS unit advertised at the low-low price of whatever. So how are they keeping the lights on? Accessories. All those cables, whatever they're made to connect - your TV, your computer to its printer - they all get markups of 50-100% lots of the time to make up for the money lost on the headliner units. And that doesn't even touch the specialty stuff that more-than-likely has zero difference from the generics... for more on what I mean, see here.
So if you've got the time to order cables and other generic-seeming accessories online, do it. For the sake of your wallet. Amazon.com is a great place to start - I've gotten more than enough value out of my Amazon Prime membership, because every time I'm tempted to buy a USB cable or a pair of headphones I didn't already have, it gets shipped to me free in two days. Not quite instant gratification, but it's pretty close. There's also monoprice.com and meritline.com and a whole bunch of others; my favorite trick is to head to Google's product search.
Yup. That ends my ranting for today. What do you make sure to buy online? What do you research?