It's 2014 and I Have a Huge New TV

2014-10-08 21:04 - General

Look at my new TV!  I

In December 2008 I bought a 60 inch DLP television and I've been using it happily for the intervening (nearly) six years. I use my television nearly every day, so it's one of the things I'm comfortable splurging on now and again. Some time ago as I was assembling my video game and console collection, I got a receiver that was not only capable of hooking them all up (with help), but displaying all the outputs through a single HDMI cable. Specifically to leave this option open: some of those consoles' best output is S-Video, but new TVs don't have S-Video inputs.

I've been keeping an eye on the market for some time, but didn't jump. I've got an array of cabinets around the TV, which you can see behind me in the picture, storing all my A/V components, game consoles, and games. It leaves 40 inches of vertical space between the two horizontal parts. The 60 inch DLP TV consumed most of that space, with a large bezel along the bottom. Newer flat panel TVs have small bezels on all edges, so a bigger TV will fit. The biggest size that will fit is 75 inches, and that's what I've just bought. It's 38 inches top-to-bottom, filling just about all of those 40 available. (Ok, there are some rare 77 inch TVs, but those are crazy expensive, they don't count.)

Setting it up was a whole story to itself. It arrived on Monday. The delivery guy called only that morning to announce that he'd arrive between 2PM and 4PM. Lucky I've got a workplace that will let me just skip out on the afternoon and work from home a bit. Then, of course, he was late and didn't arrive until nearly 6PM. I spent the next several hours installing the wall mount (it's 41 inches with the stand, so I can't use that!) and then hanging the TV onto the mount. Which was quite a challenge on my own. Then my stomach sank as I pushed the articulating mount back towards the wall and the TV bumped into the lower set of cabinets. I measured something wrong. I was instantly convinced I had to drill new holes in the wall, which I dreaded.

As I started to fall into despair, I realized that I was in fact not lost. The wall mount is flexible, designed to work with several sizes of TV. I can remove the bracket from the TV, slide it a bit, and re-mount the TV at a different height! I gave that a shot on my own, but it was a bad idea. I managed, barely, to get it further up just enough to fit in the space originally intended, but hard down against the cabinets, and very precariously mounted at best. The cherry on top: The mounting bracket blocks the power cable, which was not plugged in! Even if I had positioned it perfectly, I still needed to take it back down to get the power cable in, then the mount reattached over the plug. (Which was a 90 degree connector, seemingly predicting this problem.)

I begged for help and the following day my friend Zack visited. With a second pair of hands it was straightforward to remove the TV, without letting it fall. Then adjust the mount and ... I don't have nearly the play I hoped I would. The choices are limited by the position of the structural parts of the mounting plate, plus a rear bezel that flares out. I can move it only a bit, then I have to go so far to jump over the structural parts of the mount that it hits the flare and doesn't fit anymore. Oh no!

I think for a minute but see no way out, so I re-install the mount, in a position that will put the TV as high as possible, while still attaching securely. We hang it back in place and it just fits! I'd greatly prefer it to be centered vertically, which is around only half an inch higher. But it is in place now and it fits. Hurrah!

The two of us grab dinner and sit down to a movie to celebrate. By dumb luck, I pick a movie that was not saved properly. The whole thing is terribly dark and I worry for almost two hours that something about the TV is broken. Eventually I find out that the problem is really the movie that we happened to pick. Such a roller coaster!

But that's not all! I've got a "smart" power strip. I plug the TV into its control outlet, then the rest of the outlets switch automatically on (and off!) with the TV. This means all the power bricks and other bits of my game console collection are not wasting power all day and night long, when I couldn't possibly be using them (because the TV isn't even on). The new TV is too power efficient! Each time the display fades to black (or even simply some dark scenes) the power consumption drops too low and the strip is convinced the TV is off and powers everything down. Then right back on with a brighter scene. The resulting power ripple causes the receiver to lose sync, and the picture and audio flicker. Augh!

But finally, skipping that "smart" strip, picking well formatted content to display, and setting all kinds of settings, the TV is installed, and working great. It's been quite a ride these past couple days.


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