Monday, August 06, 2007


Our 32" Philips brand standard TV started having problems a couple of weeks ago, and within a few days it was defunct. It's probably a power supply problem.

We could get it fixed, but the only place that repairs them around here is 3 months behind on repairs.

And so it was time to go looking for a new TV. And these days, it makes little sense to go out looking for one that won't do HDTV.

I'd seen a couple young ladies coming out of Wally World with an Emerson 32" LCD TV that they'd gotten for $538. I didn't realize they had dropped that far. So I went to the "world of wal" to check out options. One thing I saw was a 37" Vizio (never heard of them at that point) LCD TV that looked pretty darned good for in the mid $700's. We went back and looked and as we were learning to read and interpret specs, there was a Sanyo 37" with a significantly better contrast ratio listed. Based on the spec, and not the fact that the 37" Vizio right next to it looked better to me, we bought it.

I was almost immediately disappointed. Plus, it had two bright pixels on it. I took it back the next day after researching the Vizios (which are getting great reviews for their price range) and bought the 37" one there.

I'd read on the web complaints that it didn't have audio out, with others insisting that it did. I assumed the people who insisted that it did must've found it so I wasn't worried.

Well, it didn't.

Further the "Zoom" button on the remote didn't work. This is a feature you really ought to have for watching programs formatted for wide screen televisions that are presented in standard definition (the "square" 4:3 standard we grew up with). Most of these televisions, as this one, allow you to stretch the picture to fit the screen a couple of different ways, both of which I think are horrible. The distortion is .... bleah!

I then read in the manual that the "zoom" feature was not available on this model.

It turns out that Vizio, like a lot of manufacturers, manufacture some stuff specifically for WalMart. The model numbers usually have a "W" in them somewhere. This one did. Vizio also makes another one with an "X" in the model number that Circuit City and a lot of other places (including Sams Club!) sell. And the zoom feature is on that model. So are audio outs.

And get this.... it was $17 cheaper.

I took that one back and got the one from Sams Club.

So we had 3 new televisions in 3 days. But this one will do the trick. We got an upconverting DVD player, and the picture is amazing. We have no immediate plans to go to HD programming over the satellite (which is one reason we wanted the zoom feature... for letterbox movies presented on a 4:3 screen coming over the satellite). The picture looks fine. No, the blacks aren't black black, but they're not bad. The picture looks at least as good as our old 32" standard (which, by the way, is the main reason we got the 37" ... it's vertical dimension is about the same as the vertical dimension on the 32" ~19". We didn't want to lose picture size from "regular" TV.) Actually, I think it looks a little better.

So we went through all the Harry Potter movies testing it out. And went to see that last one at the theater one more time since I felt I'd missed a few key things the first time around.

So that's that in TV land.

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