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Bringing my TV from USA to Singapore

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speedwell
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Bringing my TV from USA to Singapore

Postby speedwell » Sat, 17 May 2008 4:20 am

I just got a new TV before we decided to move to Singapore and I'd very much like to bring it (52" Sony LCD). Whilst I think I can deal with the differences, I'm not sure and would welcome any advice.

* Voltage should be straightforward - I hear you can get a step-down transformer - can I leave it plugged in 24X7 on standby like I do now or am I going to have to remember to turn if off and unplug each time?

* TV standard should be okay too - most DVD players are multi-region these days or can be hacked that way. What about the cable TV Box though? I expect that's PAL only. My PS3 (PAL) should work though.

As an aside, I've grown very used to HD and Blu-Ray - any of the cable companies broadcast in HD yet and are Blu-Ray disks available?

* Finally, and the one the concerns me most - is the difference in mains frequency. Is that going to make the TV display at 50/60th (or 60/50th) of normal speed? PS3 games that rely on scanning frequencies might not work properly?

The ideal solution would be to sell it here and buy a new one when I arrive but the prices seem to be 2X compared to here.

Any insight or advice appreciated.

--Speedy

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Postby kaseyma » Sat, 17 May 2008 5:25 am

Have not yet seen step-down transformers suitable for sophisticated electronics.
This may not be as straightforward as it seems.

Were the people at the store where you bought it unable to answer your questions?

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Postby speedwell » Sat, 17 May 2008 5:45 am

It was a couple of months ago and I got it from amazon.com because there was no sales tax. The downside of ordering online I suppose.

If the step-down transformers are only really for casual use then I might have to consider selling it which would be a real shame.

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Postby maneo » Sat, 17 May 2008 7:11 am

Confirm with the manufacturer of the transformer if it is suitable for the intended application.

Used to be that step down trasnformers had poor power regulation and no filtering.
Noise spikes can be a problem for electronic gear.

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Postby speedwell » Sat, 17 May 2008 7:25 am

that's not good news - maybe add a power regulator in series ?

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Postby Mi Amigo » Sat, 17 May 2008 10:51 pm

First of all, I'd recommend you check the serial number label and instruction book (or 'RTFM' as we say in the trade) to check the exact specs for your TV.

To deal with each of the questions in turn:

1. A step-down transformer could be used, but it is important to make sure that the you get one with adequate power rating. Somewhere in your TV documentation you will find the mains power requirements - it will say something like 110V, 60Hz, 350W. The first figure is the voltage - assuming it is only spec'd for 110V you will need a transformer. The second figure is the mains frequency - we have 50 Hertz (Hz) here and in the states it's 60Hz. Using a TV spec'd for 60 Hz mains with a 50 Hz supply is probably OK, although you might find that the set runs a bit hotter than normal. If the spec of the TV says '50-60 Hz' then so much the better. The last figure is the all important power requirement. My example was 350 watts but you need to get your real figure and then I suggest adding about 20% overhead, and then obtaining a 220V -> 110V 'step down' transformer of AT LEAST that power capacity. For a 'thirsty' thing like a TV, a proper transformer could set you back $100 or so (no idea of the exact price - that was a guess - but do a search on the web).

2. You could leave the step-down transformer plugged in and switched on all the time, but it would draw a small amount of power, even with the TV switched off. So the 'green' thing to do would be to switch off the whole lot at the power outlet when not in use (then you'd also avoid wasting the 'standby power' for the TV).

3. Don't get mixed up between DVD region and TV standard - they are two different things. Having said that, many modern DVD players will play DVDs that are different to their 'normal' standard. But this might compromise quality a bit - if you brought over a (NTSC) DVD player and then played PAL DVDs on it you might see a difference. Assuming it works, that is - again, check the specifications section of the DVD player handbook.

4. You should check your TV handbook to see whether it can handle PAL TV signals (these are also 50 Hz frequency, like the power here, as apposed to NTSC which is 60 Hz). If your PS-3 really is PAL (please double check if you're not 100% sure) then that would suggest that your TV will work with PAL signals of course.

5. No, you won't get 'slower pictures' with 50 or 60 Hz. First of all the mains power frequency doesn't actually impact on how many pictures are displayed per second. The mains power gets converted to DC inside the set, so it's only important in terms of power supply specs nowadays. Secondly, assuming the TV really is 'multi standard' it will adjust its display to cope with either 50 or 60 pictures (fields) per second, for PAL & NTSC respectively.

6. Some limited HD programming is available here on StarHub (cable), MediaCorp (terrestrial digital, i.e. through the antenna) and Singtel Mio TV (IPTV via an internet connection). In each case you need a special set-top box, different to the regular (SD) ones, and yes, they are all different and incompatible with each other's signals.

7. Yes, you can get Blu-Ray disks here, but I'm not sure about the 'lag' between releases of new titles here vs. the USA.

As you can see, it's a little complicated and for this reason many people do what you said and sell their TVs then buy new gear when they get here. You also need to consider that your beloved TV would be in a sea container for a few weeks if you shipped it over, whichy wouldn't do it's longevity much good. And what about the warranty - is it covered worldwide or only in the USA? I'm surprised that there is as much as a 2x factor in the pricing difference between here and the USA, but I guess that probably has a lot to do wth the exchange rate. If you're going to be paid in S$ (or get S$ allowances) then you might want to do a bit of virtual shopping around to double check the pricing here. Just a thought...

Whew. I started typing what I thought would be a few simple notes and ended up with 'War & Peace' . I hope it's more helpful than confusiing. And good luck with the move ...

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Postby speedwell » Sun, 18 May 2008 1:27 am

Wow - thank you so much for all that information. I've been digesting it and it's looking like it might just be worth getting a new one when I get there.

Your point about it sitting in a container for 6 weeks is well made.

We're paying for it to be crated and shipped so the money I save by not doing that can be used to offset the cost there.

I read a forum post recently that said "sell anything with a plug on it before you come" - that's sounding like good advice.. Bye bye Tivo3, SlingBox and all my other toys :(

Thanks again - really appreciate all the detail.

Speedy.

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maneo
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Postby maneo » Sun, 18 May 2008 2:49 pm

speedwell wrote:I read a forum post recently that said "sell anything with a plug on it before you come"...

Unless the electronics already have internal capability to switch between 110-120V/60Hz and 220-240V/50Hz, that is indeed good advice.


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