Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Demented Weekend of TV Psychosis: Blog Therapy Begins after Retail Therapy Goes Wrong

I’ve been forced to take a long hard look at behaviour I’m doomed to repeat over the Bank Holiday weekend. I’m no psychoanalyst, but I can tell that my consumer urges are particularly demented. Am I typical or is my shopping psychopathology commonplace? This is the question I repeatedly ask myself.

This long weekend’s madness started with GTA4. We have a perfectly serviceable 26 inch (funny how tellies have remained Imperial) HD TV, but I was having to get up close to it to see the game properly. This pops a little thought into my head: “Need a bigger telly”. Once it got in there, the usual pattern of behaviour begins. It starts with the online ‘research’ and idle searches on Amazon and Play.com. This goes on for a couple of weeks.

OK, fast forward to the wet miserable Bank Holiday; 3 kids running wild around the house. Nothing to do in Welwyn Garden City except look around the shops. I find myself nosing around the televisions in John Lewis, the Sony Centre and Argos. Set myself an imaginary budget. The desire begins to build. Is it going to be the Sony with its Bravia Engine or LG with 1080 ‘true’ HD input? Do I really understand what a 7000: 1 contrast ratio actually is? Should I spend more at John Lewis for the 5 year warranty? I circle dementedly like a squirrel trying to get at nuts in a bird feeder.

Frankie, my astute 7 year old son, summed up my state of mind when he said that once I’d got the new telly I’d keep buying bigger ones until I had to buy a bigger house to accommodate them. He knows me far too well!

Matters are brewing nicely by the time we all go out to a coffee bar for breakfast yesterday. My wife seems to have accepted that my urge is unstoppable and wisely sanctions the purchase. I opt for the Sony, but the Sony Centre hasn’t got the right model in stock (even though it’s the headline item in their display, with balloons all over it screaming ‘Bank Holiday deal!’) and then the salesman pisses me off by trying to push a more expensive model.

So it’s back to Argos, but Stan is getting fed up with being in his pushchair. Em suggests we head back to the house to release the irate toddler, but my consumer lust is so strong I get shirty with her for cramping my style. Can’t she see I must have a new TV to the demented exclusion of all other considerations?! Unforgivably, I have a subdued tantrum, but head back grumbling anyway, like a big sulky only-boy child…

…only to make another foray to Argos in the afternoon! Following additional online research, I buy the Sony, then Frankie, Mila and I cart it back to the house in a shopping trolley.

I hold the joyful unboxing ceremony in the living room, plug the shiny new TV in and switch it on. Nothing happens. I try plugging it into another socket. Dead. Jesus, after an entire weekend of growing obsessive mania, my chosen television doesn’t fucking work! Not only that, Argos is about to shut and I have to get Mila and Frankie back to my ex-wife in London.

I pack the TV up again in a frenzy and rush back to Argos in a panic. Anxiety is enhanced by the rain starting to pour down when I’m halfway there. I imagine an invalidated warranty due to water damage.

I make it safely to Argos, where a disinterested member of the sales staff limply goes through the returns process. They haven’t got any more Sonys in stock (but I must walk away with a TV NOW!), so I go for the LG (1080 input). Wheel it back, exhausted by anxiety and physical exertion. Thank god, this one works and the picture looks great!

Of course, now I’m getting cognitive dissonance over my choice. I now find that 1080 input doesn’t mean it’s ‘true HD’, so maybe I should have waited for the Sony with 9000: 1 contrast ratio?

That’s the trouble with psychosis – it’s never bloody over!


Jeremy said...

Hi Tris,

If I was you I'd return it and get the Sony. It might seem alright now but in the long run you'll be happier with a full HD TV, at least that's my theory.

I got stung too when I got my Full HD TV a year or so ago. Though it was advertised as being 1080p, it only accepts input in 1080i. This doesn't matter so much if you want to watch film, but it means when I connect my Mac to it that all of the single pixel lines (which there are many on a typical computer window) flicker, in a really annoying way.

The annoying thing is that Philips only really mentioned this short coming, somewhere deep down in the fine print.

Good luck with what ever you decide to stay with. I hope you can now enjoy GTA 4 in all of its glorious detail.

Tristan said...

Jesus, it's terribly complicated! The Sony was only 720, but has the Bravia engine, of course. I'll stick with the LG - which has 1080 input (whatever the fuck THAT means!) Apart from anything else I need to move on in my head...

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