For quite some time now, I've been living with a television which had a screen the size of, oh, a postage stamp. This was never made clearer than when I attempted to watch a movie in widescreen, and the TV obligingly rendered it in letterbox format and I found myself watching a screen that was … 5cm tall. Handy. At one point a couple of months back, I watched a movie with subtitles. Or I should say, I attempted to. White lettering superimposed on a dappled-forest-floor background is kind of difficult to read at the best of times. But when the powers that be in the film/tv industry, in their infinite wisdom, render that writing as only 0.5% of the screen size,1 the letters showed up on my TV as about 0.5 microns tall. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that I had to haul ass off the couch and kneel with my nose all but touching the screen in order to wade my way through reading these subtitles. (It was not the best movie-watching experience ever, no.) (I didn't finish the movie, either, no.)
Oh, and did I mention the TV was analogue? And I don't have a set-top box?
Being addicted to story in pretty much every form, I absolutely adore TV shows — but finding them among the dross of reality drivel, the perpetual search for a charisma at the expense of skill, and the crime and cop shows is not exactly appealing. Meaning mostly I watch my TV in the form of DVDs these days. So the lack of digital channels wasn't bugging me, but for the sake of movie-watching I admit I have been toying with the idea of upgrading to a proper grown-up TV. For, you know, the last couple of years.2
Problem is, I don't see the point in buying something interim. If I'm going to spend money on an upgrade, I'd rather do it properly, and get something I can love and pet and call George. Other problem is, a new TV is at the bottom of the financial priority list. There's things I need first, like a new desk, and things I want more, like travel.
These two personality traits would appear to be contradictory.
But! I have found a solution, and the solution is canny, and the solution is this: know someone who's upgrading their proper-but-not-digital TV. And say yes! omg! thankyou! when they offer you their old TV and set top box.3
This way you get a proper grown-up TV, complete with a set-top box, without sacrificing the money you've saved up to buy a desk that won't break your wrists every time you try to work. And people will stop laughing every time they walk into your loungeroom.
OK, so she's not state of the art (any more). And she's wearing a fetching texta tattoo. And she's so heavy I have a sore back from just watching her being carried up the stairs. But I can see the picture from more than a yard away! So I love her.
But instead of George, I'm going to call her The Consumption.4
- Because seriously, it's 2010, who owns a 34cm mono curved-screen TV any more? [↩]
- Is five still a couple? what about, um, ten? [↩]
- And if you happen to live three flights up, it helps to have a burly, strong neighbour type arrive home just as you're standing at the base of your stairs, wondering how, precisely, you can inch your new-old TV up 34 marble steps. Most timely introduction, ever. [↩]
- Mainly because I mispronounced TV as TB yesterday. But hey, it fits. [↩]