Saturday, January 21, 2023

Can a Flatscreen TV Ever be ‘Too Big’?

During the recent Christmas season, Santa Claus impulsively gave me a new 55” flatscreen TV. You’re probably wondering how he got it down a narrow chimney. Well, in this case, instead of delivering the gift in his sleigh on Christmas Eve, Santa instructed one of his “elves” on December 28th to notice the TV was on sale at Walmart for $358, insert a credit card in the little device without giving it any thought, slide the large box into the back of a Chevy Equinox with the help of a Walmart employee, and then spend the whole journey home trying to think up a good excuse to tell Mrs. Elf. (I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever referred to my wife and myself as elves.)
It took almost two days to install the TV on the wall in our living room. Getting the bracket attached to the wall wasn’t too bad, but getting the TV attached to the bracket would’ve been a bit easier if I had a doctorate degree in structural engineering. It didn’t help that one instruction manual had only pictures and no words (I believe that’s called the IKEA language), while the other instruction manual had plenty of words, but was obviously written by someone who speaks only Korean and ran it through a Google Translate app. For example: “Insert Screw B into Flange of Fortitude M.” (Flange of Fortitude? That would make a great name for a rock band.) By the way, there were no screw Bs anywhere in the bag of parts.

Anyway, the important thing is, I finally got the TV mounted to the wall without accidentally dropping it during the process. It’s not very heavy, but a person really needs the wingspan of Kevin Durant to lift it up properly. Maybe this note in the instruction manual, “Installation exclusively on two bodies, never with only person,” was trying to tell me I should’ve called my brother-in-law to come over and help me. 

I thought installing the TV was difficult, but that was nothing compared to programming it. You see, it’s called a “Smart TV,” which means it’s guaranteed to make the owner feel dumb. The TV comes with all kinds of software and programs and apps, and needs to be connected to the internet via wifi. This, of course, means I had to try and locate all my various usernames and passwords; another delightful chore. 
The programming instruction manual — surprise, surprise — wasn’t all that helpful. And the remote control that came with the TV is about the size of an ironing board and contains at least 900 buttons, half of which have cryptic markings and don’t seem to have any useful function. (One of the buttons was labeled “Flange of Fortitude.” But still no Screw Bs anywhere.) 

By mid-January, I finally got the TV to communicate with the cable box. So, now I can watch the 180 channels for which I’m paying every month through the nose (even though I only watch six of them). 

That’s when I noticed the TV takes up practically the entire wall in our modestly-sized condo living room. I started feeling guilty for splurging on such an ostentatious consumer product. But then, luckily, I visited my brother-in-law (the one I should’ve called to help me), and he just finished installing a brand new 70” flatscreen TV (and he should’ve called me to help him).

When I returned home and gazed at that puny 55-incher, I shook my head and muttered, “It’s just too small. We need a bigger one.” I think I’ll wait until next Christmas. That will give me 11 months to think up a good excuse to tell Mrs. Elf. 

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