Tuesday, October 28, 2008

HDTV madness

Ok, so you know how when a bird at the zoo dies and they have to get a new bird? And then they figure that if they're getting a new bird they might as well build a new five million dollar addition to the zoo? No? Hmm, maybe we're the only people that buy something new and go way overboard.

Saturday morning our 42 inch plasma TV broke. It's been doing weird things for a while, the screen has been turning black occasionally and Saturday morning it went out completely. When we bought it it was really one of the bottom of the line Plasma TV's at the time, we were just moving into this house and arranged our entire family room so that the furniture would face the fireplace, and then it just made sense to mount a TV above the fireplace. But plasma TV's were insanely expensive at the time, and after just buying a house our TV budget wasn't exactly large.

Anyway, that's more than you needed to know about our TV. The point is, it died. And Heaven forbid we be without a TV in our family room for five minutes, so we made a family trek to Best Buy to buy a new TV.

After spending the morning comparing, measuring and discussing every single plasma TV in the universe, we finally settled on a new TV. Our old TV was 42 inches and not an HD. Plasma TV's have gotten way better and way cheaper since the last time we bought one and they're pretty much all HD now. Plus our old TV had big speakers on both sides of the screen, so it was bulky. New plasmas are generally lot sleeker with smaller frames around the screen, which means that while we could only get a 42 inch TV to fit in the space above our fireplace before, the same space will now hold a 50 inch.

So after hours at Best Buy we came home with a ridiculously large 50 inch plasma HDTV. I'm pretty sure that I can now count John Krasinski's nose hairs while I watch The Office, and isn't that what you've always wanted to do?

Since we already had the other TV mounted on the wall, we decided that we didn't need those pesky Best Buy people to install our TV. Oh no, we're TV experts we could install it ourselves.

A 50 inch plasma TV weighs 80 pounds, and I'm a big baby. It sounded like a great idea at the store, but there's no way I was going to be much help mounting an 80 pound TV to the wall. It was time to call for backup.

Shawn's best friend is another pharmacist at Shawn's pharmacy, and he was our go-to guy for TV installation. What was supposed to be easy enough ended up involving a trip to the store to buy new screws, not being able to find the right screws, then realizing that they had the right screws all along...and at mightnight they FINALLY had the TV mounted to the wall.

And then to make an extremely long story short, we realized that we really know nothing about HDTV. First we realized that we had hooked it up with the wrong cables. Turns out coaxial cables don't transmit HD signals. Who knew? That involved a trip to Best Buy to buy ridiculously expensive cables. That's when we discovered that our DVD player doesn't have a port for the ridiculously expensive cables. Our DVD player was old and crappy anyway, so we decided to upgrade and get a new one. But WAIT! If you have a new 50 inch HDTV, why buy a DVD player when a blu-ray player is MUCH cooler (according to the Best Buy salesman)?! That led to an afternoon of discussing blu-ray players, and eventually to us buying one. We're such suckers.

THEN if you have a new 50 inch HDTV and a new blu-ray player, it's a really great time to upgrade the DVR, and as long as you're doing that, you might as well upgrade all the DVR's in the whole house. That fortunately didn't cost us anything, just a trip to the cable company to switch out boxes.

So after four days of hanging TV's, buying cables, researching blu-ray players, switching out DVR's we finally got everything put together. And then you know what we discovered? That our cable company really doesn't have that many HD channels and the channels that aren't HD really don't look all that great on a humongous HDTV.

*SIGH* We're idiots. I'm just going to put that out there now. :)

After a call to the cable company, they assured us that that's normal and in the future they will be adding more HD channels, and in the meantime after playing with the settings on the TV we've decided that the other channels are fine. The TV looks great and movies look amazing on it, but I still kind of think we were insane to start this whole project in the first place, since the majority of our TV channels aren't in HD.

And then this morning I woke up, got Josh off to school, sat down to mess with the TV a bit more and thought to myself, you know, the TV looks all nice and new and the DVR and the blu-ray player look really great, and now I hate the decor on the bookshelves that surround it all.

So Matthew and I just spent the morning at Target buying pretty things to put on the bookshelves and the bookshelves are now redecorated.

Have you all read the book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie? I'm wondering if I could contact the author and ask him to write a book about buying a new TV. If you give the Whites a TV, they're going to have to buy new cables to go with it...


Jaime said...

Wow, that's a lot of work for a new tv! Kinda sound like my husband except he doesn't need Best Buy people to convince him lol, he just wants all new everything!

Been reading your blog for awhile and just thought I'd tell you how much I enjoy it!

Susan Lechuga said...

Men and their electronics. I know all about that. I love your blog Wendy and thank you for sharing every aspect of your life with us.

kb4525 said...

Goodness! We had the same problem back in March-and we even ended up with a new entertainment center to boot! The Blu-ray player upgrade was DH's way to get a PS3(it was cheaper than regular blu-rays!)

AdamandKaylasmommy said...

Wish you would have said something sooner. I work for a TV company! The mark up on those cables you bought have a 70% markup.

Lisa said...

That is the story of my life. We once completely gutted and renovated a bathroom after deciding that it needed a coat of paint. I kid you not.

Mama E said...

You are cracking me up!!!

We did the EXACT same thing a couple years ago. Rick's aunt had a TV for sale, we bought it...didn't like it...sold it to his mom....then bought another one that was even bigger. It turned out we didn't like the first one because we didn't have HD programming!! DUH!!!

We switched to Dish Network from cable and have been very happy!

Jeni said...

Too funny! I could so see that happening with my hubby!

On a side note can you believe I have NEVER seen The Office??? Although since hearing about it so much here I just ordered it from Netflix!

Josh said...

I'm kind of glad that we got a new cable box for our basement TV. It have a better picture and now I can record stuff on it! You are a great mom!


Watty said...

LOL @ the mouse reference. I'm afraid to try to even change to digital cable with dvr in fear we'll have to start that route. We won't even get into when I finally gave up needing tape decks in the car because I liked making mix tapes! LOL Gosh I'm so old school!

The cool family! said...

Welcome to the world of giant T.V's! My hubby bought a gigantic flat one as well last year. It's super fun to watch movies on!!