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…