February 5th, 2012


Giant Screen Super Bowl XLVI


So the Super Bowl is on. Patriots leading 10-9 at the half. I suppose Madonna is just about finishing her halftime show. But at 8 o'clock we switched over to PBS to watch a locally produced GVSU documentary Up From The Bottoms: The Search For The American Dream on the black migration from the South to Muskegon MI, here in West Michigan. GVSU's Community Read book for 2012 is The Warmth of Other Suns, which sounds like an SF novel, but is also about the black migration from the South.

But we're not watching this on channel 12. We've got it on DT35.1. Back in the beginning of January, we bought a "giant" 7" HDTV (DW) for the kitchen. Who knew that before the month was out we'd be buying another TV.

Mrs. Dr. Phil and I got our first color TV in 1985 or '86, when the cable expanded in Laurium and they announced we were going to get WGN-Chicago. In those days that meant every Cubs game -- and all the Wrigley Field games were in daylight. So we trucked off to American in Marquette, a hundred miles each way, just as everyone did in that part of the U.P. I'd always said that if I was going to buy a color TV I'd spring for the Sony Trinitron. Which we did. But not having much money, we bought the 13" TV. I think our B&W TVs were 12" and 14" at the time. We also bought a decent but cheap Sanyo VHS VCR so we could timeshift the Cubs games.

Nine Years Ago...

... just about exactly, on 11 January 2003, we had to go to Circuit City in Holland and get a new TV. The 13" still worked, when connected to the VCR, but its tuner was shot, which meant there were cable channels we couldn't get. We looked at the 14" Sony flat face WEGA Trinitron, but Mrs. Dr. Phil pointed out that our eyes weren't getting any younger, so we brought home the 20". 54 pounds and with off-center handles on the carton so it balanced beautifully for carrying.

When HDTV rolled out nationwide, we didn't have to convert because our cable continued to offer analog signals. But over the years they borrowed a couple of analog channels for digital channels. And the networks kept reducing the size of text so it wouldn't scream like a billboard on a 54" TV. Sigh. And we still weren't getting any younger.

Let's Not Burn The House Down

When we came back from North Carolina in December, we noticed that the 20" was having problems with colors from time to time, then would clear up. But last weekend it started behaving badly -- the picture would go out for a few seconds then there'd be a buzz and a click and it'd be back. So last Sunday I drove off to Best Buy after doing some research.

I wanted another Sony, so it'd work seamlessly with the pair of Sony remotes we already have, without finding the codes for another brand. A year ago we could've gotten a 22" Sony, but they've stopped selling "small" TVs. Smallest Sony we could get was a 32" 720p LCD Sony Bravia. They had one in the box in stock, as everyone else was there to buy their Super Bowl pary showpiece. Always hard to judge sizes in a TV department, but walking next to a wall of 44" and 54" HDTVs all showing the same panning golf shot is something of a vertigo inducing experience.

True to the comments I found online, it took longer to disconnect the 20" Sony and move its 54 pound bulk, than to set up the 28 lb. 32" Sony. Given that the speakers on the 20" were on the sides, the 32" isn't that much wider. And in analog mode, the picture wasn't that much bigger than the 20", though it was sharper.

But this weekend I began picking out the HDTV channels, so we get the full 32" in 720p for the local channels. Including PBS -- and that Super Bowl.

Ah, New England leading 17-15 at the end of the 3rd quarter.