Sunday, June 27, 2010

TV Shuffle

For the past three weeks, since the TV in the basement burnt up, I've been watching videos on my ipod while exercising. This worked OK in a pinch, enough to watch several episodes of House, the last half of Dodgeball, and all of Juno, but it didn't work all that great. For one thing my 160GB iPod Classic has a pretty small screen, especially when sitting on the display of the elliptical. Also my headphones and cord didn't cooperate all that well with the elliptical motion so I was always worried they were going to get caught on something and yank the ipod off the machine.

So while it was definitely workable, by this weekend I had had enough and on Saturday agreed that it was finally time to replace the TV. Except what we actually ended up replacing was the bedroom TV, and that one was relegated to the basement. That TV is a 32" 16x9 LCD and so works fine in the basement. It's virtually exactly the same size as the 32" 4x3 tube TV that broke when displaying a DVD. Plus the picture is substantially better.

After spending a while looking at all the various options at Best Buy, we settled on a 40" Samsung 1080p LCD. My original plan was to buy a cheap 42" Insignia, but after looking at it side by side with the Samsung there was no way I could buy it. It wasn't that the colors were brighter on the Samsung (though in typical 'store demo' mode they were), but they were just wrong. Then we spent a while trying to figure out whether we should actually get the same TV in a 46" for a little bit more, since the sitting room is quite a bit further away from the TV then the bed is. But in the end we decided that since we don't watch TV in the sitting room it was silly to spend extra money on a larger TV. So we went with the 40" Samsung, and its impressive 65k:1 contrast ratio.

Of course, the money that we saved by going with the smaller TV, I promptly got suckered into spending on something else: a Blu-ray player. You see they had a table full of open-box Blu-ray players that were $100 with the purchase of a TV, including a Sony BDP-S560 player that normally sells for over $200. How could I pass that up?

Sure, you could argue we don't even own a single Blu-ray movie. Or, that I'm probably far too cheap to spend $4 a month extra to add them to our Netflix plan (when did they get so expensive, BTW, I was thinking $2/month). Or that, that particular Sony model doesn't actually do much of anything other then play movies. But, 50% off? Even if we only use it as a fancy 1080p upconvert DVD player it seemed like a deal at $100.

So, we're now once again fully stocked on TVs and have one more somewhat unnecessary electrical gadget filling up the empty places in our TV stand. Sounds like a successful weekend to me!


Bill Roehl said...

Funny, I'm far too cheap to buy an expensive TV. In fact, I'm seriously considering not replacing any future TVs if the ones we bought 5 or so years ago die.

Steve Eck said...

Bill, The biggest trouble with the basement TV is that I won't exercise for any length of time without something to watch. And the ipod was definitely too small to comfortably watch. So a new TV was pretty much required in my mind, at least if I wanted to be able to stay in reasonable shape.