TV Land

When flat-panel TVs  became all the rage several years ago, the main thing I raged against were the multi-thousand-dollar pricetags. Just as I vowed never to ever own a car that cost me more than $30,000, I swore I’d never suffer a four-digit pricetag for a boobtube no matter how mind-blowing the picture.

On top of that even as little as a couple years ago (when the prices came down enough for my mom who bought a $1,200 Vizio model from Costco) there wasn’t all that much in the way of high-definition broadcasting. Hooking up my mom’s TV for her and flipping through the channels I was immediately put off by the prevalence of non-HD programming accompanied by the requisite vertical bars bordering a picture that really looked no better than it did on a regular box.

But in keeping with rewarding myself for all the bike commuting I do (last year’s prize was an iPhone), I’d decided early on in this year when digital finally killed the analog star that I was finally going to get the Campbell household some true 1080p flat panel goodness too replace the trusty but tiny 27″ Sanyo we’ve been watching since 2004.

But still I wasn’t in any frenzied impulsed hurry… that is, until a couple weeks ago when a mailer arrived from Costco that alerted me to a website-only offering beginning September 14 for a limited time of a 46″ Sceptre model for $799. I did some online research and for the most part reviews for that model were positive. And so I began counting down the days.

Then, last week, it dawned on me that 46″ is pretty big and I’d better bust out a tape measure and get the dimensions of our TV cabinet, which is a very good thing seeing as how it’s only 39″ wide. Dangit.

Fixated on the 46’er I’d briefly scoped out the ideas of either getting a new cabinet or mounting it on various walls or putting the thing way up high on top of the existing cabinet. Dutifully I pitched the various scenarios to Susan after she saw me eyeballing the wall behind the sofa and wondered what was on my devious mind. She did her best not to laugh out loud at the options, especially since my jonesing for a new tube took her a bit by surprise and she wasn’t as excited about it as I was.

Last but not least, I told her, was the most sensible solution. That instead of buying new furniture or rearranging the entire room to accommodate the TV, we get a TV that actually fit inside the furniture we had. She was all for that one. Gave it her enthusiastic endorsement.

So back to the research drawing board I went on the hunt for TVs that the cabinet could contain. While it seemed that a 37″ model was as big as we could go, I did find a 40″ Sony Bravia, whose 38 7/8ths-inches width meant that I nervously quadruple-quadruple-checked my cabinet measurement to make sure it was indeed 39″, since there was hardly room for error — basically 1/16th-inch on either side.

Then it came to the price. Samy’s had been selling it for $899, but that ended Saturday, gah! Both Costco and Best Buy had it for $1,199, which as previously mentioned was $200 more than I was genetically and morally able/willing to spend. Just when I thought all was postponed, up came Howard’s to the rescue with their advertising insert in the Sunday LA Times: 40″ Sony Bravia, $899.


So Susan and me and the tape measure loaded into the truck and drove out to the Howard’s in San Gabriel where they had one on display and I triple-checked that it was for sure a pinch less than 39″ wide. Even with that proof I was still thinking of going with a 37″ Samsung, but it was only a hundred cheaper and so the Sony Bravia kept calling me back to it.

It’ll fit, I kept saying. To myself. And to Susan. And Alex the salesman.

After mulling a bit more we thanked Alex and split telling him we’d be back, and utilizing our regional proximity to the wonderful San Gabriel Mission and the magnificent L.A. County Arboretum and went and played tourists in our own town at those two landmarks. Then we went and got a bite to eat. Then we went back and bought it and brought it home.

She fit into the cabinet as if they’d been custom made for each other, and the installation was pretty painless. She was up and running in time for us to enjoy the season finale of “True Blood,” on HBO. And if Susan had been previously uninspired at the thought of a new TV, she was on the same page as me as we sat in front of it and took in the big new shiny screen.

But we’re not quite all the way to high definition magic yet since we’ve got a standard satellite receiver box and a standard TiVo DVR. So what we need first up is an HD receiver upgrade from DirecTV (ordered this morning and coming this week), and then down the road we may have to think about an HD DVR.

Far more important than an HD DVR at this point is a Blu-Ray DVD player, of course. But in the meantime, I dropped in a disc to our regular DVD player just to check it and the trailer for “Shutter Island” popped up and looked awesome enough.

For now.

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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."