Monday, January 08, 2007

COLUMN: Hi-Def


I came to grips with yet another painful truth about my life this weekend. For the past two years, it's caused me to slowly descend down the shame spiral until I finally took a deep breath and confronted the ugly reality: I was living my life in lo-definition.

I really like television. More specifically, I really liked MY television. It was a 38" Toshiba that had served me well the past decade. It was the television that was with me when "Cheers" served its last beer, when the Soup Nazi served his last bowl. The TV that was there when Ross dated Rachel, dumped Rachel, dated Julie, married Emily, divorced Emily, married Rachel, dated Charlie, and kissed Rachel. That thing and I had a special, irreplaceable bond.

Until, of course, I walked into Best Buy and saw my first hi-definition television. That's when I realized my beloved TV was a hunk of junk that was an insult to all who watched it. Suddenly I was incomplete as a human being. Episodes of "Lost" seemed irrelevant unless I could actually see the individual arm hairs of the Others in crystalline hi-def clarity. Al Roker can't properly give me my morning weather in the confines of a mere 38 pathetic inches. I had suffered in my lo-definition existence long enough; it was time for an upgrade.

So when the parents asked the inevitable, "So, what do you want for Christmas?" question this year, I replied simply: COLD HARD CASH -- which I then took and put with some cold hard cash of my own. Then I took a deep breath, secured my wallet, and walked into American TV on a mission.

I thought picking out a new TV would be a snap. Well, close -- it almost made my BRAIN snap.

The first step is figuring out what kind of TV to get. Naive little me just thought the answer to that question was "hi-def." Not so easy. There's plasma, there's LCD, there's DLP, there's boxes filled with magical pixies that just draw really fast pictures on the screen. Well, maybe not, but that made as much sense to me as the salesman's explanations of all the others.

After a while, though, it started to come together. Plasma, I learned, was out for me. You're not supposed to play video games on plasma TV's because it can cause screen burn. Besides, the word "plasma" makes me think that my television is actually ALIVE, and hey, there's enough stuff growing in my apartment as is.

That left LCD (which hangs on the wall) or DLP (which is basically a kazillion mirrors powered by the world's most impressive flashlight.) After lengthy debate, I opted DLP for one simple reason: BIG. DLP sets come in larger sizes for less money.

If I'm spending an obnoxious amount of money on a TV, I want that TV to be a behemoth. I want jaws to drop. I want streams of drool to run from the corners of my friends' mouths. Some people want to invest in home theatre; I want my home to BE a theatre. That's why I walked in to American and immediately centered myself in front of the biggest thing they had: some 80+ inch Enormo-tron.

Happily, my salesman was a realist and politely explained to me that, in my tiny apartment, an 80 inch TV would basically make me blind and sterile, not to mention a potential hazard for nearby low-flying aircraft. As much as I hated to admit it, there IS such a thing as overkill, and sitting 9 feet away from a 7 foot TV is just not a prudent move. He suggested a 42". We compromised and I bought a 56" Toshiba.

In the store, sitting on the Wall 'o TV's, a 56" unit looked pretty conservative and thrifty. In my apartment, it looks like a slightly undersized drive-in theatre. My place is officially pimped out. I feel like charging admission and selling popcorn.

Of course, getting the thing set up was no easy task. Again, one would think that this kind of investment would result in the magical TV pixies moving my entire apartment around for me, but no deal. My old entertainment center only fits a 38" TV, so it had to be moved to the bedroom (resulting in the exciting discovery of an oatmeal creme pie from the Mesozoic Era underneath! Score!) Of course, to get it in the bedroom, my chest had to be moved to where my nightstand table was. And the nightstand table had to be moved to, well, the dumpster.

So now my apartment lies in ruin. Everything's moved around and nothing fits. The cats are completely confused. I may have to sleep standing up from here on out, but at least I can do it HI-DEFINITION. Now all I have to do is figure out how to work the remote and turn the stupid thing on...

2 comments:

thescoundrel said...

And your evolution is hardly finished. Just buying the set is the start. Then you have to choose a signal source. A relative of mine went with the local cable systems hi-def outfit, which I thought, was horrible compared to the signal several of my friends were getting from satellite servers. In my estimation the hi-def (supposedly 1080i) picture my relative was getting did not even match my basic digital picture (480i) I was getting from my satellite system. Plus you have to buy all the right wires and connections. Then for ultimate effect you hook-up your multi-channel surround sound system. Once it is all set it is very very nice, but also a very expensive toy.

WindingHills said...

How much was the set?

Put up some pics. of it!!!!!