New TV - Nothing to See Here
Aug. 19th, 2005
12:39 pm - New TV
My old TV (27" Philips non-flat screen) has served me relatively well over the past 4 years, but it was giving up the ghost. It had never been the most responsive ever to IR signals (especially turning on/off), but over the past month or something, it started randomly sometimes not accepting any IR input at all and sometimes working... and then it just gave up accepting any IR input whatsoever. There's precisely 5 buttons on the front of the TV: Power, volume up/down and channel up/down. Luckily, the channel up/down includes (below ch 1) the A/V inputs, so we were still able to switch between TiVo, DVD, etc., but nonetheless, it was getting old fast having to go over to the TV to do such simple things, and not having access to any of the useful buttons on the remote control.
I'd already been thinking about a new TV on and off for quite some time (I wanted something a little bigger and I wanted a flat screen [not flat panel; I'm not made of money!]), so I did some recon/research, on-line, at Costco, at Best Buy, at Circuit City and at Good Guys.
I quickly found out that 30" regular TVs were more or less mythical. I had thought such beasts existed, but apparently not. Pretty much the only 30" TVs are widescreen, and given that I still watch plenty of 4:3 TV, I don't want a widescreen TV. Consider this: When watching 4:3 programming on a 30" widescreen TV, the image is the size of a 24" regular 4:3 TV(!!!) (yuck!). By contrast, a 30" standard 4:3 TV (if you can find such a beast) will give you the equivalent of a 28" widescreen TV when watching widescreen content. Yes, you lose far more for 4:3 programming on a widescreen screen than you lose for widescreen programming on a 4:3 TV! Better still, a 32" TV (which is cheaper than a 30" widescreen TV) will give you the equivalent of a 29" widescreen TV for widescreen content (hardly any difference!)... will give you vastly more area (probably close to double) for 4:3 content. Putting aside thoughts of HD (which I'm not ready to pay for) for now, it is a no-brainer.
The only problem is... due to space limitations in the hutch the thing has to go in, I couldn't fit most 32" TVs due to the tendency to put 4" of speaker on each side of the TV, thus making is massively wider (perhaps they think people will be fooled into thinking it is a widescreen TV, thus better?). I did find, however, that the Toshiba 32AF45 (which, amusingly, Toshiba has the wrong image for on their web site--an image which shows speakers down the side--even though other sites around the web have the correct image for it) was a reasonable price, was nice looking, and had speakers below the screen, thus making it a wonderful fit for the hutch.
Having made the decision to get it, I'm not one to procrastinate about it, so now I have a lovely 32AF45 in my living room. Just in time for people coming over this evening and watching Firefly. :)
 See the screen size calculator on http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6463_7-1016109-4.html (scroll down a little bit to find the calculator).