The short version: I bought a really freakin' huge TV.
I finally took the plunge today and bought myself a big screen HDTV. I've been thinking about such a purchase for the past year or two, but various price and practicality reasons had led me to postpone such an action up to this point.
I knew that I wanted my next TV to be widescreen because the primary thing I do with my TV is watch movies. However, if I want to watch regular 4:3 television programming, I knew that I would want to do it matted--that is to say with black bars on the left and right to create the square-ish 4:3 image. I simply do not like the stretched/squished look of making a 4:3 image fill a 16:9 screen. I'm not much for the zoom mode either where it hacks off the top and the bottom of the 4:3 image to fill the screen.
Given those parameters, I also did not want anything about a new TV to be a "downgrade." Therefore, the new TV would have to be able to produce at least a 36" diagonal 4:3 image to match the size of our current television. I figured it out mathematically that a 16:9 television would have to be at least 44" diagonal to be able to do this.
I knew that a TV such as this would be in the thousands of dollars. Fortunately, as is common in consumer electronics, that number has been headed steadily southward. This year it finally got down to a range where I could stomach it (with financing, of course!).
I usually buy big home electronics goodies at Ovation. I have a salesperson there that takes really good care of me. Ovation has a reputation for being expensive, but it really isn't the case at all. They definitely have some really high-end, high-priced stuff, but the stuff they have that is the same as what you might find at Best Buy, HH Gregg, or Circuit City is generally comparably priced. Their sale prices are just as good, and if you establish a good relationship with a salesperson you can get even better deals.
I had been looking at televisions earlier this summer and had made some decisions about what exactly I was looking for and narrowed down my options. By the time I went into Ovation I pretty much knew what I wanted--a rear-projection DLP unit. The DLPs provide excellent quality at a reasonable price/size ratio and are not susceptible to burn-in. Given that I want to watch 4:3 programming at its original aspect ratio and that I might be inclined to break out some Bemani games on the new set, burn-in is a serious concern. I want to use the set how I want to use it and not worry about damaging such an expensive purchase.
When I had been in earlier I was really knocked out by the Misubishi DLP units they had at Ovation. These were the new models for this year and they looked markedly better than the Samsung DLPs I had seen prior. The Samsungs have been the market leader, but it seems that Mitsubishi has caught up. I didn't purchase at that time because I wanted to wait to see if the new Samsungs would be similarly improved and I also wanted to wait for Ovation to offer one of its special financing plans. I actually hadn't received one of their mailings in awhile, so I asked my salesperson to make sure I was on the list. Ironically, I actually receieved the most recent mailing twice by mistake (they were stuck to each other--probably a sorting machine error). But that was what prompted my return on this day.
As it turns out, Ovation hadn't received any of the new Samsungs yet, so it decided to go ahead and get a Mitsubishi. The size choices were 52" and 62". The 52" met my criteria and seemed like an appropriate size for the distance that I normally sit from my TV. I didn't want to have too big a screen because things don't look as good if you sit too close to too big a screen.
However, as I was viewing the 52", the 62" was just to my left. I was standing closer to the 62" than I would normally sit and it looked surprisingly good (it was displaying a DVD movie at the time). So I turned to look at it and asked to see a standard definition television signal. They switched over to a DirecTV feed. I had to take a couple steps back to appoximately the distance that I would sit and it looked pretty good--quite watchable. I made the game time decision to go ahead and spend the extra $$$ on the 62"! My salesperson gave me a nice discount, and I ended up getting it for less than the lowest price I've seen it online before shipping (and shipping is usually about $300!). In other words, I got a really awesome deal!
NOTE: This entry is being composed about three weeks after the actual event. Now that I've had the TV in the house for awhile I have come to the following conclusions: SD television looks ok at the distance I sit. I'm maybe just a tad too close, but it's not bad. DVDs look great and the huge size really adds to the impact of the movie and creates a very theater-like effect. I think I'm sitting just about the perfect distance for it. HD programming looks even better than I thought it would. It's so clear and crisp that I could actually sit closer if I wanted to. It's just wow! In the end, I'm glad I went with the 62".
The earliest they could deliver was the next day or Friday. But trying to get set up a time that I could be home to receive it seemed like it could be a bit of a hassle. They have evening deliveries, but the retail bug made me want to get it sooner rather than later. I asked if I could just take one home with me. They said I could if I would go down to the warehouse to pick it up.
I picked up my phone and called Heath since there was no way in hell I was going to take home a 62" TV in an SRT-4. He was on his way home from a meeting when I called. I asked him if he could come get me in his truck. He agreed.
I got all my paperwork done and Heath came to pick me up to go down to the warehouse. Unfortunately, the weather was crappy--drizzly and cold. We made it down to the warehouse near 30th and Post and the dock operator helped put some plastic bubble wrap over the box and load it into the truck. From there it was back to the Castleton Ovation for me to pickup my car and then on to the house.
We got home and got the TV unloaded and into the house. Then began the process of getting it unpacked and setup. Inside the box were a bunch of styrofoam packing pieces to pad everything and then the set itself was actually wrapped in layers of plastic wrap. In all, it was packed quite well to survive the somewhat damp and bumpy ride home in the truck bed.
Once I had it in position on the wall, it looked even bigger than I thought it was going to. It was bordering on ridiculous as it practically enveloped the entire wall where the old TV used to sit. The old setup was speaker, component cabinet, TV, subwoofer, speaker. The component cabinet and subwoofer were taken out and the new TV filled about 85% of the space between the two speakers. Craziness!
I got things connected just enough to turn it on and make sure it worked. It was pretty late at that point, so I didn't sit and watch for very long. Overall, I'm quite happy with the purchase and look forward to watching fun stuff on the new set. I'm jokingly referring to it as "the TV that will make me want to watch TV again."