Semi OT: new TV as luggage on BA F

Old Aug 28, 14, 5:13 am
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Semi OT: new TV as luggage on BA F

Doing LHR-YYZ and back in F. Prices on electrical goods are much lower in Canada. I checked the BA website and saw that you can check in items at max dimensions of 190x75x65 (cm) at 32kg weight.

A new LED tv at around 60 inches would fit those dimensions and weight. Now assuming the obvious hurdle is taken care of (120v vs 240v power, as most Tvs handle both voltages), what other hurdles might I face?

Has anyone done this before? Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old Aug 28, 14, 5:25 am
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I think you have two issues to consider.

The first is fragility. Do you want to entrust a new TV to baggage handlers at two airports?

The second is TV standards and resolution. North American TVs are designed to NTSC resolution, whereas Europeans use PAL. You would probably need to buy one of these...

http://www.world-import.com/samar.htm
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Old Aug 28, 14, 5:30 am
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I took a 40inch Sony LED TV on ALC-LGW back in June. I used the original packaging, it got checked in at the outsize baggage desk and they stuck Fragile labels on it. Arrived intact and working perfectly!
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Old Aug 28, 14, 5:36 am
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I have twice seen large(ish) flatscreen TVs being checked in. Do be mindful that TVs should be declared Customs on arrival in the UK and duty and VAT will be chargeable. Your duty free allowance is 390 (value) for all goods purchased outside the EU.
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Old Aug 28, 14, 5:47 am
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It won't work without a PAL to NTSC converter. I tried this a few years back when I was living in London with a tv/computer monitor hybrid and never got it working. Also, if it's large you're not exactly going to sneak it through customs without declaring it...
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Old Aug 28, 14, 5:51 am
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I have seen TVs being loaded onto aircraft and expect you would be unlucky if the set arrived damaged.
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Old Aug 28, 14, 5:53 am
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On the positive note, you can ignore PAL/NTSC issues (mostly) for a modern TV - HDMI should support all useful resolutions, and the prevalence of multi-standard DVD/Blu-Rays means that pretty much everything has to support 50/60Hz scan rates (NTSC vs. PAL is only an issue for a composite video input, and, again, pretty much every high end TV will support both).

However, if what you really want is a TV (not a monitor, i.e. do you want to be able to connect it to an aerial?) you'll likely have a problem, as the UK uses DVB-T/T2 (and for a 60" TV, you are really going to want T2 for HD) whereas a quick bit of research shows Canada seems to be going for the US ATSC standard. Even if the standards were compatible (and they're not) a UK TV really needs MHEG5 (or no red button or IPTV stations) and that is UK specific, and very unlikely to be found on a non-UK market TV.

And then, of course, there's the duty and VAT issue.... Whilst I'm sure it is possible to sneak through customs with the odd electrical item, or even hand-made suit in ones baggage (not that I would ever do such a thing, naturally ) I would think a 60" TV on a baggage trolley would draw some attention from HMRC, and you need to budget for this.

You could attempt to sneak it through, but if you get caught, not only will you pay all of the duty, but you will also get stung for a penalty for mis-declaration, and may well find yourself arguing about the actual taxable value of the item (even with an invoice, they can, technically, choose to assign their own value to the item, which may be somewhat more than you paid for it).

You could go for the "Goods in baggage" declaration, which I've done in the past for samples bought at trade shows, but it is quite a faff, and you will need to find out what the appropriate duty rate is from "the Tariff" - which is a pretty complex document, and doesn't seem to be available online any more. Expect to pay 20% VAT, plus duty of, who knows? 3%,7%,12%, more? (honestly no idea, the duty regime for electrical goods is painfully complex!).

I doubt that you'll get very far saying that you brought it out with you from the UK, and are just returning it - though I'd sort of like to see the faces if you were to try!

And, in any event, I'd not risk a large, fragile, expensive LCD/LED panel to airport baggage handlers, and I'd very much doubt your travel insurance will cover it....

Amazon.ca perhaps?

Ken.

Willard the Bear - of course, if you carry a pico-projector with you, you've got an 80" TV that fits in your pocket! (And you can use it to entertain your Bears in the Hotel room...)
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Old Aug 28, 14, 6:01 am
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Originally Posted by KenF View Post
Expect to pay 20% VAT, plus duty of, who knows? 3%,7%,12%, more? (honestly no idea, the duty regime for electrical goods is painfully complex!)
My understanding is that is it 14% import duty (according to those calculator websites, using the term LED TV).
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Old Aug 28, 14, 7:20 am
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Originally Posted by malkie View Post
My understanding is that is it 14% import duty (according to those calculator websites, using the term LED TV).
Ouch!

14% Duty + 20% VAT - that would have to be a really cheap TV to still justify all of the hassle!

(Actually quite shocked at the duty level, the last thing I imported this way was an MPEG Video Camera, and I think the duty was either 3% or 5%, and no helpful websites to work it out for me, but I still had access to a tame Freight Forwarder to do tariff lookups at that point.)

Willard the Bear - I hope there isn't any duty on teddy bears!
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Old Aug 28, 14, 7:31 am
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Originally Posted by KenF View Post
Ouch!

14% Duty + 20% VAT - that would have to be a really cheap TV to still justify all of the hassle!

(Actually quite shocked at the duty level, the last thing I imported this way was an MPEG Video Camera, and I think the duty was either 3% or 5%, and no helpful websites to work it out for me, but I still had access to a tame Freight Forwarder to do tariff lookups at that point.)

Willard the Bear - I hope there isn't any duty on teddy bears!
I agree, however I think according to my calculations I would still save around 400-500GBP on a TV after paying all the fees.

There have been sometimes nobody at the red/green zones at LHR. I could always go at the red zone and hope for the best?

The PAL/NTSC issue is non existing now in this time and age with HDMI able to handle all frequencies/resolutions.

I am not so fussed about the TV tuner either as all my TV watching consists of either streaming from media devices or watching tv from satellite box.
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Old Aug 28, 14, 7:35 am
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Originally Posted by ITryToFly View Post
There have been sometimes nobody at the red/green zones at LHR. I could always go at the red zone and hope for the best?
You could, but you risk confiscation and a fine if you get caught. You could hardly say that you forgot it was in your luggage.

I'd also be concerned about the warranty in case of a fault developing.
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Old Aug 28, 14, 7:37 am
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Originally Posted by ITryToFly View Post

what other hurdles might I face?
Unless you are able to obtain an international warranty I wouldn't touch this idea with a bargepole.
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Old Aug 28, 14, 8:03 am
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Is the warranty important to people here?

How often do modern consumer goods go kaput within the warranty period?

Do you guys buy the extended warranty in the shops?
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Old Aug 28, 14, 8:04 am
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Buy a high res projector instead. 100 inch display on your wall, and you can put the projector in your luggage. (Yes, you do need white wall, curtains closed, etc)
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Old Aug 28, 14, 8:17 am
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Originally Posted by Calchas View Post
Is the warranty important to people here?

How often do modern consumer goods go kaput within the warranty period?

Do you guys buy the extended warranty in the shops?
Depends on whether you are talking about the statutory warranty period, or any extended warranty period.....

Now, I rarely buy extended warranties, unless they are ridiculously cheap, or free (HSBC CCD) or I'm aware of specific issues.......

But, Early Life Failure stats for consumer electronics are pretty scary, and I fear that the Sale of Goods Act et. al. will be of little use for a device imported from Canada. (As a data point, I'm directly aware of one very major manufacturer of computer equipment that has a 25% failure rate out of the factory, and this is on high-end corporate kit....).

I've no doubt such a device will work as a monitor in the UK, and I'd give it a 80-90% chance of arriving in one piece at LHR, but even without the customs issue (i.e. assuming it is declared) I'd be loath to take the risk myself for a couple of hundred quid, but, we all have different attitudes to risk, so who am I to say?

Ken.

[Edited to add]

Strongly agree with the projector idea - I now carry an Optoma Pico projector, because I'm sick of finding hotels that won't let me plug my media player into the TV, it is about the size of a 3.5" HDD, it projects a nice 80" picture onto a suitable hotel room wall, and, as an added advantage, it doubles as a handy hand-warmer after it has been on for an hour or so.

Even a "normal" Full HD projector would fit easily in a hold bag (or, since we're talking F, hand baggage), is much easier to explain away should interest be expressed (send the original packaging etc. via snail-mail before travel) and will likely give you a better picture for that "home cinema" feeling (but remember to check lamp life and costs, which can be a little painful on some brands)


Willard the Bear - Perhaps a Giant Teddy Bear instead?

Last edited by KenF; Aug 28, 14 at 8:25 am Reason: Someone mentioned a projector instead...
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