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Having determined that my extended presence on the naughty list precludes delivery via the usual North Pole service, I recently went shopping for a new television.
Can you say confused?
Actually, confused is an understatement. Before I went out I spent two days researching televisions. By the time the sales guys got through with me, I felt like I had been held upside down and shaken until everything I knew rolled right out of my head. Including my own name and address.
For one thing, it seems you can’t just buy a television anymore. No way. You are, as one salesman told me, buying the video component centerpiece of your integrated home entertainment system. I don’t know how I feel about that. It seems a pretty lofty description for something that’s just going to show you reruns of Green Acres.
Wait. The nomenclature just gets sillier. The only thing modern electronics geeks like better than long names (“video component centerpiece”) are short ones, preferably abbreviations, and in the modern television world you have a bunch of them. Depending on the need, a consumer must choose between sets described as Plasma, Platelets, Corpuscles, LED, LED-LCD, PQQ, SBD and of course IOU.
Now that I think about it, IOU is going to apply no matter what kind of TV I get.
Anyway, once you’ve figured out which combination of letters is right for you, you have to choose what size to get. Screen sizes range from big, to bigger, to ginormous, to drive-in movie, to visible from space.
Ginormous is what you find in the average living room these days. Drive-in movie is what you’ll find in your basic man cave, where men gather to drink beer, make a variety of rude body noises, and watch sports on televisions with definition so high you can tell which players have dandruff problems.
And you can listen through … cheap little speakers. This is where they get you. You see, all those mondo-humongo TV sets come with the same lousy speakers they’ve always used for TV. Well, you can’t have high-definition video and low-definition sound, can you? Oh, no. So now you have to buy a home theater system to go with your Plasma-Platelet-LED-LCD-IOU screen.
Time for more jargon. What kind of surround sound do you want -- 2.1? 5.1? 7.1? 3.14159? Do you want Blu Ray with capability for DVD, CD, CD-ROM, JPEG, Shoepeg and your uncle’s 8mm home movies? And then there’s connectivity. What about WiFi, HiFi, LoFi, NoFi, and FeeFi(FoFum)?
It’s a lot to consider, is what I’m saying. And while you’re considering it, it’s quite likely that your eyes will glaze over and you’ll get that facial expression your dog gets when you show it a card trick.
This, of course, is right where they want you. It means your brain is disengaged and therefore less likely to hear your wallet crying “No! No! Don’t do it! Look at the price tags, you moron! You’ll be paying on this thing for the next three presidential administrations!”
Luckily, I didn’t get quite that far. I shook off the Too Much Information stupor and went home – no easy trick when you can’t remember your own address – to reconsider my options. And I think I found one. I figured out what to do about television.
I rejoined Book-of-the-Month club.
© 2010 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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