I don't like to think of myself as someone who cares about a television. I'm embarrassed, actually, to tell of this journey. I still identify with the man I was 20 years ago, when I didn't and wouldn't own a TV. I still cringe when I see family rooms set up with an enormous plasma screen as the center of the universe, and there's not a book to be seen. Is your life that vacuous, I think? Have you no intellect left after you pay your cable bill?
Rigid ideology has a way of biting one in the behind, and the universe appears to be laughing at me lately.
Our decade-old television (tuned, of course, to appropriately edifying stations like BBC—to watch Torchwood and Doctor Who, but don't tell anyone) needed replacement. Robin's birthday was coming up—she hinted more than once how nice a new TV would be for the Inauguration Day party.
I bargained 25% off a 40” Toshiba at Best Buy (checking Consumer Reports on the iPhone to make sure it had a good rating), then went to Ikea for a cheap stand. This is where everything started falling apart.
The stand was up to Ikea's usual standard, meaning it looked crappy and cheap. A coat of paint just made it look worse. And it wasn't deep enough to hold our other components. After two days of alterations I admitted defeat and we found a nice media table at Cost Plus.
Then I entered the world of video cable components, connectors, multiple remotes, and archaic ancillary equipment. At last, I cobbled everything into one Entertainment Center. And we sat down to watch some TV.
A standard def signal displayed on a 1080i screen looks dreadful. The sound out of a contemporary television is tinny and weak. It appears the TV is the least of the changes, and cash is about to begin hemorrhaging. To get this system up to snuff we apparently need: a new Direct TV receiver, an HD subscription upgrade, some kind of external speaker array, a new DVD player, and probably a new amp for the stereo. Nothing we have now has contemporary outputs, like HDMI.
It is extremely tempting to go back to the old Triniton. Or just read a book.