Big, dang TV time

There are moments in our lives when insights reveal themselves in special events and the world is never the same again. The birth of a child. A marriage. A devastating illness or injury. A milestone birthday. A career change.

Or when you realize your TV screen isn’t big enough.


Hurricane Irma did it for me. We were staying with friends — designated by the county as the official Thompson evacuation shelter — and I was watching The Weather Channel, mesmerized.

“That’s a big dang TV!” I told my friend. “I mean, it’s like a Jumbotron. I’m seriously concerned Irma might just roar out it and bowl me over. If I still have a house after this, I need a big dang TV, too!”

He just looked at me and said: “Yeah man, I think you do.”

Thank you, Hurricane Irma. You have helped me to see the light.

We’ve had our main family TV for several years now. What was once a large, thin, cutting edge screen by the standards of the past now seems like it was built by a caveman with some sticks, mud and a few lighting bugs.

It’s up there in years and we may need an upgrade. But I’m learning the process of picking a new TV isn’t the easiest. It takes studying and learning and asking knowledgeable questions of friends like: “Do you think the new 4K decoding coupled with the anabolic LED stereorific monitor is here to stay?”

If the answer is “um, uh … sure?” then you know you’re on to something.

Remember a time when the biggest choice you had was deciding between a TV the size of a serial box or a TV the size of two cereal boxes? In fact, thanks to cathode ray tubes and flux capacitors, TVs were deeper than the screen was wide. To install it, a delivery truck had to literally back into your house and a crane lifted it into position. The only thing that could support its weight was a stack of concrete blocks in your living room. Few people realized this back then, but TVs were the second most common cause of sinkholes.

The actual screens, though, were tiny by today’s standards. TVs now come in a dizzying array of sizes, styles, shapes, brands, resolutions and even levels of “smart-“ness. In fact, some of the TVs are so smart you can’t even buy them unless you pass some standardized test. Snobby nerd TVs!

I’m not sure I care about features — only size. But I’m worried. When I measured the wall recently and declared we need to move the stairwell, my wife put a block on the computer preventing me from viewing any TVs larger than 144 inches.

I’m going to keep working at it. Running the numbers. Taking measurements. Trying to figure out what 4K actually means, and hopefully find something that doesn’t look like it was constructed by a caveman.

Also published on Medium.

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