TV or not TV? Sure, but which TV; that is the question 3

Liz and I just bought a new TV and all I can say is, thank god that’s over. What a huge pain in the ass.

old man w tvThings have changed a lot since the last time I bought a TV. Of course the last time I bought a TV, we brought it home, plugged it in and watched “The Waltons” or whatever was on the other two channels. Piece of cake.

Back in our parents’ day, picking a TV was really easy. They went with Curtis Mathes because everyone knew those were the best. And the console that housed the actual TV was a lovely (or at least massive) piece of furniture. The only decision our folks had to make was which cabinet style they wanted — Early American or French Provincial. Done? Great – let’s hit Sirloin Stockade.

Whatever they chose, they knew they had better love it, because that bad boy had a life expectancy greater than a Galápagos tortoise, and the cabinet would anchor the living room until well after the kids left for college. And if you’re from Oklahoma like me, even if the TV did die, the console made a dandy stand for the new TV.

Those days are long gone. Today the would-be TV buyer is faced with an array of decisions that would give Solomon pause. For instance, what size do you want? How about a 40-inch? Tell a salesman you’re looking for a 40, and he’ll ask you if you’re buying for a kid’s room, or if you just need a small screen for the Hummer. Tell him it’s going to be your main (and only) set and he’ll look at you like you just farted.

A while back I somehow convinced Liz we needed a new TV. When I got a tentative go-ahead I started my due diligence. After about a year of half-hearted research (i.e., going online and watching Kate Upton dancing in slow-motion) and then a month of really serious research (i.e., asking everyone I know what kind of TV they thought I should I buy) we finally brought home a new one.

Actually, a delivery company brought it – two days earlier than promised – and left it sitting on the front porch, unannounced and unattended. I can’t remember the courier but their slogan is something like, “When it absolutely, positively has to get stolen before you can get home.”

But back to TV talk. The task of choosing the right TV can seem overwhelming; that’s why I’d like to share my knowledge in hopes of helping others. Here are some terms a shopper might encounter, and what they mean in plain English.

LED: Drug popular with Pink Floyd fans; also has something to do with the picture. Your new TV should have it (or them, or whatever).

Plasma: This has to do with donating blood. Not sure why it comes up so much in discussions about televisions.

HD: Hi Def. Coat-tail-riding cousin of rapper Mos Def.

HDMI ports: These are important, so make sure your new set has a bunch of them.

Pixels: Hugely popular on college radio in the late ’80s, now responsible for picture quality.

Refresh rate: While you’re setting up your new TV, how many times your wife will bring you a beer before she pours one over your head.

Dongle: Not certain what this is but I’m pretty sure it has to do with porn, so you definitely need it.

3D: And speaking of porn …


  1. This sounds like a dang good new machine you’ve got yourself, Jeff, but I can’t believe you were ever a Curtis Mathes man. Give me a Philco or Silvertone any day. Panoramic 22-inch tube, rock-solid horizonal and vertical controls, classy Swedish modern cabinets *and* rooftop antenna rotator built right into the “Remote-Control” device. I asked the young Negro sales fellow at Sears & Roebuck if any of these new LED contraptions can match those features and he acted like he never even heard of them. I rest my case.

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