This resolution has been made easier by the fact that both of our TVs have died in the last two weeks.
The first to go was our 12-year-old 32 Zenith that my wife and I bought four our first apartment. The picture had grown to be mostly orange and the faces were all smeary. At the end, the cops on Law and Order looked like Oompa-Loompas. RIP Zenith, you served well.
Not so with the 36 Sony WEGA HD that I bought in a moment of dual-income-only-two-kids enthusiasm. It has about the same cubic footage and curb weight as a Kia. My wife about had an aneurism when Circuit City delivered a box the size of our bedroom. Back before we closed in the carport, we all crowded into a tiny bedroom and watched with our knees about four inches from the screen. It looked like an IMAX from that range.
But after only four and a half years, its dead as a stump. Four years! I sprung for the name brand (but not the extended warranty) because it was sure to last. At the risk of sounding like a fogey, do televisions really only live four years these days? The TV repair guy says its $350 to fix. Last Sony I ever buy.
Today, I have undertaken a serious downgrade of my household televisions.
I shopped without consulting CNET or Consumer Reports. Quality was not a serious consideration just some basic specs, screen size, resolution, preference for LCD. A quick look at Mpire to get a sense for market prices, and I went promptly to Costco.com. Im going cheap from bigger to smaller, from name brand to off brand. I settled on a 32 Digital Research LCD ($499 +$30S&H) and a 26 Envision LCD ($399, free S&H). Two sets, LCD, less than a grand, delivered. Done and done.
This is exactly what the repairman told me not to do, but I dont get paid $75 to show up and do nothing but shake my head.
Okay , you TV geeks, tell me what an idiot I am for going cheap. What would you have done? Gone to all AM radio? Leveraged the house for the 73 Mitsubishi? Nothing like a good round of post-purchase woulda-coulda-shoulda.
So, the way I look at it, with the decreased screen estate in the house, we watch less TV even if we put in the same hours on the sofa.
I am going to compensate by boosting my hours watching fine online television programming like DadLabs.
Clay Nichols, Family Correspondent:
Clays column, Dadventure, published twice monthly to Gather Essentials: Family, is a sure-fire guide to raising flawless, perfectly behaved, and always obedient children. Yeah, right.
Clay is the co-author of Filmmaking for Teens: Pulling Off Your Shorts, an award-winning playwright, and the Chief Creative Officer at DadLabs.com, a fatherhood website.