Tuesday, September 05, 2006

there is no god of television

I have never been much of a TV watcher, and neither has the mate. So it's hard to say exactly what motivated us to spend $1000 on a 32" LCD TV. Granted, I haven't bought a new TV in 20 years. The first one I got just so I could watch Twin Peaks - a 13" Zenith, and saved a few bucks on a floor model. The mate, who watches more TV these days, wanted an LCD TV because of the lower power consumption, and something that could double as a monitor.

Though we originally figured about $600-800, there were few around that had both a tuner (yes we are among the last 30 poor slobs in California don't have cable) and the computer hookup. The tuner runs about an extra $100-$200. We looked at all the models and picked a few that we felt had the best picture. In our budget were models in the 24" range, and Video Only had just one with both the tuner and the monitor capability. And the picture didn't look all that great. I found the 32" ones generally better to look at.

The salesman gave us a deal, as the parlance goes, on a Toshiba 32HL66 for $999, and we decided to take it. This was Friday of the holiday weekend and they were having a big sale. I forked over the credit card and was told to phone Monday.

I called Monday. No TV. Tuesday I dropped by on my way back from work and asked. No TV. They'd sold a ton of them and were flat out. In front of other customers, I made a fuss about having ordered it on Friday and how I should have been on a list to receive one. The sales manager apologized and offered to exchange to a Panasonic TC32LX600, a more expensive model. I told them I would check with the mate and come back to decide whether I would cancel the order, wait for the Toshiba, or take the Panasonic. At home, I whipped onto the internet and pulled up prices. The Panasonic cost about $100 more than the Toshiba, and $250-$400 higher than the exchange price (not counting prices offered by charlatan web merchants.) We took the Panasonic.

After setting it up (it's shockingly light, only 48 pounds), hooking it up to the DVD, VCR and antenna, and programming the channels, we couched and fiddled with the remote. It gets HDTV very nicely. In all, we have about 25 channels to choose from, about 21 more than we were getting on the ancient Zenith. It's huge, bright and very clear, great to watch. But despite all this, there's still nothing good on TV.

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