The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres


Our new 32-inch HD TV is a compromise – far too small for me, and far too large for Maggie.

We had a 32-inch TV about 6 years ago, although it was one of the old bulky kinds that were nearly as deep as they were wide, and weighed the same as a small car. Unfortunately it decided to die on us about 3 weeks after the manufacturer’s warranty expired.

When we went to replace it, the shops only seemed to sell the new, fancy, LCD, flat screen TVs that were hideously more expensive. Consequently, we ended up with a TV with a 17-inch screen - not much larger than that of the laptop computer.

About 3 weeks after the manufacturer’s warranty expired, a thin line appeared about 2/3rds of the way up the screen and never went away. Eventually we more or less got used to it.

18 months ago, analogue TV was switched off in this area. Rather than get a digi-box, we decided to see if we could actually live without the television.

We lasted almost 3 months.

After buying a Freeview digi-box, we discovered we had access to about 15 channels. Many other areas had well over 30, but this part of rural Scotland has too many hills and not enough relay stations.

About 3 weeks after the manufacturer’s warranty expired the digi-box died on us.

We dug out an old one a friend had given us. Unfortunately this one had been designed for use before the days of widescreen TV, so for the last few months we have missed out on the edges of every programme or film shown on television. Though we have got quite good at guessing the missing first and last words on anything with subtitles.

About a week ago, this digi-box started playing up and it was clear it was just a matter of time before it too would give up the ghost.

I started casually suggesting that rather than buy another digi-box, perhaps we should just get a new TV with Freeview built in. Perhaps a larger TV - one that would allow us that full cinematic experience. My father, for example, has this obscenely huge plasma TV… but wait!

Maggie was talking about getting something even smaller than the one we already had! “Vulgar” is how she described these large TVs.

However, now the kids had started to smell blood and they joined in with comments of how wonderful it would be to be able to see the images on the TV from further than 2 feet away.

Finally, 2 days ago, the digi-box died on us.

Today we went out to get a new TV (tactfully in time so Maggie wouldn't miss the 2nd episode of the BBC drama, "South Riding". And while I looked longingly at 100+ inch plasma screens, which would have required a lottery win - not only to afford it, but to buy a house big enough to fit it in - Maggie was looking for something small enough she could ideally throw a cloth over and disguise it easily when not being used.

So our compromise was a 32-inch HD TV.

And tonight, as my son, Rogan, and I sat down to watch “Top Gear” in High Definition to marvel at Ferraris and Porches in great detail, we also discovered the downside – experiencing presenter Jeremy Clarkson in High Definition. Indeed, seeing the crack of his arse escaping the top of his jeans as he climbed out of a new Jaguar XJ in High Definition was quite an emotionally scarring experience.

I’m beginning to think HD TV should carry some kind of mental health warning…


TalesNTypos said...


drama queen :P

KLo said...

Ah, the double-edged sword of advanced technology ;)

Whitney Lee said...

I love it! We recently upgraded from the 32 in tv we had had for years. Thank goodness we had help because I couldn't have helped my husband move it if my life depended on it. We now have one of those hideously vulgar 55 in deals. There's something to be said for being able to watch tv without my glasses...

debra said...

Our TV also gave up the ghost shortly after the warranty expired. We debated what to do, then I inherited my father's TV, which is HDTV. So far so good. It works.
I don't mind having it; I just don't want to have to look at it when it is off. We found a used hardwood cabinet---with doors that close.

Ponita in Real Life said...

I have a 42" LCD flatscreen tv and it's the perfect size. It is HDTV ready but here, HD channels cost lots more so I don't bother. I don't spend enough time in front of the thing to warrant the extra money.

I'm sure you'll get used to seeing the scary details along with the good ones. ;-)

Pat said...

When I married MTL we lived with a TV with a green screen for years.
The one we have now sounds similar to yours. Whether it is HDD or not I notice news readers wearing copious amounts of make up which does them no favours and spoils the picture.
Some of the countryside pictures are ravishing.

Katie Roberts said...

Anything with Jeremy Clarkson should carry a warning sign! (though my teenage son loves top gear too,.. pity our inherited digi-box died on our dodgy inherited TV, Oh well!)

Anonymous said...

Some are surprised I haven't watched a live TV program for years. Not that it's all bad, it's difficult to sift through and find the good.
I looked through the videos and found one of the musical birthday 2009. That may have been before I began following your blog.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Gosh, I'm not going to lie, I LOVE television! If I could get a job watching tv, I'd be over the moon. Actually, I'd love to be back in television production, oh joy.

As for the giant screen, oooh yes, the *vulgar-er*, the better. Popcorn, iced-tea [not soda], snackies. Only problem is, it's too expensive, and there's no wall space big enough to hold the giant screen, windows take up every wall.

Frankie said...

Ha ha ha ha yes that would be rather scarring... I knew there was a reason to go without TV for the last nine years... the only thing is that my whole family suffers from culture shock each time we're out in company and they talk about some current TV program. I love BBC Canada though and we do have a TV for movie rentals... we're avid movie watchers but I will look out for the crack of anyone's arse and hopefully turn my head in time.

Z said...

We've got a 42" television and, in an 18' by 20' living room, it's as big as the room will take. It has to go in a corner, it would dominate the room otherwise. Actually, my husband thinks it does.

hope said...

You made me laugh...sounded like a good compromise as I would've been more on your end of the t.v. watching spectrum than your bride's.

I think ours, the small car kind which better behave, is a 36" as well.

Jayne Martin said...

You have some really bad luck with TVs don't you. I've had my Mitsubishi 32" tube type since 1993. It finally broke down about a year ago and rather than buying a fancy new flat screen I actually paid $400 to get it repaired. I love it. The repair guy said that it will now probably last another 15 years whereas the new flat screens are junk after about five. I'm feeling all kinds of proud of myself.

Aoife.Troxel said...

We lasted twelve years without a television; the one we have now (of the dinosaur variety) is furniture in the house we rent and it only has two channels. :)
But it would be excruciatingly difficult to give it up, I can't imagine the pain if we had more channels!

Carole said...

We had to go by the way of a flat screen this go round also. I just don't understand how they code these things to quit working the minute the warranty wears off. Of course I refuse to buy the extended warranty because it seems they should just make a good product instead of charging me extra because they don't make a good product. But I digress. Enjoy the Telly and you will soon be spoiled and want to watch everything in HD.

Kim Ayres said...

Adila - :P

KLo - isn't it just?

Whitney Lee - sigh... I would love a hideously vulgar 55"...

Debra - I think Maggie would prefer it if we had a cabinet

Ponita - there are only 4 HD channels available here, but at least they are free.

Pat - HD works well for nature, but not so well for people...

Katie - I understand there's an Australian Top Gear - do you get the UK version too?

Allen - if you go further back, you'll find the first ones I did about getting pulled over by the police, and buying a new bike for my 40th birthday

Guyana-Gyal - you used to work in television production? What kinds of things did you do?

Frankie - the problem with arse cracks is by the time you realise what you're seeing, it's too late...

Z - I guess there must come a point where you can't push the sofa any further back from the TV because the wall gets in the way :)

Hope - the old kinds are just so heavy though. I used to struggle to lift and move the 32"

Jayne - we'd still have the original 32", but it really was only a few weeks after the warrenty expired that the screen went pink and green and refused to heal.

Aoife - we really don't watch that much TV - I could cope with 2 channels, if it was the right 2 channels :)

Carole - there is a whole science to designing things to fail - genuinely. The trick is to make them last long enough for people to still trust the brand, but not so long that they don't buy a new one. Honestly, I'm not making it up.

Anonymous said...

I fear you may have ruined Top Gear for me - now I'll keep waiting for that flash of cleavage instead of focusing on all the shiny toys.

All content copyright of Kim Ayres. Powered by Blogger.