I’ve recently come into a bit of money via inheritance. Not ‘villa in the south of France’ money. More like ‘I can buy myself something nice’ money.
As an old man, I find that there’s not really a lot of stuff I need or want to buy. If anything, I’m at the stage of life where I want to unload, rather than accumulate. I really couldn’t think of anything to buy until my sons put an idea into my head – a colossal TV. My first response was to scoff.
“Scoff”, I said. “Why would I want a new TV? Why spend money on something new while something old works perfectly well?”
Their response was, I have to admit, persuasive. New TVs are bigger and better, they said. My sons all have massive TVs that make my modest 45” Samsung seem like a 1950s-era DuMont. Like most people of my vintage, I spend an embarrassingly large amount of time vegetating in front of the tube. So why not, they argue, make it a better experience?
A valid point. After all, I do love my television. But do I need a new TV?
When my sons were young, we were perfectly content with a 24” Toshiba in a big metal box that weighed in the neighbourhood of 100 pounds. When I stepped up to a new set, it was a two-man job to move the old one to the basement, where it sat until we took it to the recycling depot because nobody wants a 100-pound TV anymore.
My current Samsung works perfectly well, but it’s not without its drawbacks. It’s not a ‘smart’ TV, which I suppose means it’s stupid. It requires an Apple TV attachment for streaming services, it has two different sets of speakers, requires four remotes to operate, and I can’t attach my PS3 because it doesn’t have enough HDMI outlets (I think).
So a new TV would be nice, and a lot less complicated. Deciding to buy is easy compared to deciding what to buy, which is more complicated than the four-remote shuffle.
First, do I go for 55”, or 65”, or even 75”? Anything bigger would devour the room, with me in it. Then there’s the brand. Sony, LG, Samsung, Tobisha, Vizio, Hisense, TCL, Panasonic, the list goes on. The world of TV manufacturing is bewildering. For example, a company called Funai makes Magnavox, Philips, and Sanyo. Hitachi TVs are made by Hisense, as is the Insignia brand sold by Best Buy. Nobody wants to admit to making RCAs.
If you really want to fall down a rabbit hole that has no bottom, look at the specs of a TV. From a website called DigitalTrends, I found this about Hisense TVs: “The ULED X is a mini-LED QLED monster with more than 5,000 local dimming zones and a peak brightness of 2,500 nits.” And if I may add: WTF?
Here’s the final, existential question. If I do buy a 65”, 4K smart TV, am I surrendering to the great god of television? Will I officially become one of those old guys who sits in his recliner all day, watching Fox ‘News’ and yelling at the screen? That’s a lot to ponder.
Maybe I’ll watch a little TV to clear my head.
Next time: a decision is made.
Maurice Tougas claims he was his family’s “walking TV listing back in the three-channel universe.” He’s also a retired, award-winning journalist. I first encountered Maurice when he was editor of Alberta Prime Times. He asked me to contribute a TV column there; happy to continue our association here at brioux.tv.