RE: Electronics: New or 'Refurbished'???
I frequently buy "factory refurbished" products directly from the manufacturer but I would NOT buy an "open box" product at a retailer. Both my TiVo's are refurbs and I tried hard to find a refurbed iPod before recently buying one. I think there's a huge difference. With factory refurb products the manufacturer usually stands buy the product as if new and, in reality, the product is new except for the fact that it has been tested with unusual thoroughness to make sure that it works well before being shipped to the customer. I have never had a problem with one of these items. An "open box" item, by contrast, has been used and possibly abused in the store and its condition is waranted only by the store. Since I have little confidence in most retailers, especially the big electronics places like Circuit City and Best Buy, I wouldn't touch an "open box" item.
Most electronics products that are going to fail will do so within the first few months, or certainly the first year, of ownership. Especially with an "open box" item, if you have ANY trouble with it, I'd establish a claim with whoever's backing it (the store or the manufacturer) immediately.