Of televisions and decisions

We’re seriously thinking of replacing our widescreen TV.

Our current 32″ Philips (32PW9527) has had problems for the last year and a half of its three years with us. There’d been a red tint on the picture but I’d cranked the settings to get around it, with some success. It’s now significantly worse; there are horizontal curved red “laser” lines every couple of centimetres across the entire picture. In a bright scene they’re not noticeable, but in a darkly lit scene you can see them in all the “black” areas and they’re really beginning to really aggravate me. Some research online indicates it’s not an uncommon problem with Philips tubes from a few years back, and is likely to mean replacing the entire tube. Which is not worth the cost.

By strange coincidence, Comet (where we bought it) just offered us extended breakdown insurance cover, out of the blue. Although it’s a very tempting thought, we just can’t bring ourselves to click that button confirming that there are no current problems with the set. I know we’ve been lumbered with a dodgy set, but it just feels dishonest1. So I’ve been researching new tellies, and our current annoying-but-bearable one will go to a needy home at one of our friends’ houses. Assuming we can find a crane or the Incredible Hulk to lift it.

At first I was flirting outrageously with the idea of an LCD or Plasma set, since they are oh so shiny and desirable. But looking around the web has convinced me that Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) sets are still going to offer a better picture for a couple of years yet, especially in our £600-ish budget range. So we figure on getting a new CRT set now, and then a flat-screen when the technology is nice and settled, and my insane craving can’t be held off any longer.

I’m genetically incapable of spending money without endless research first, so I’ve been combing reviews and recommendations online. Since, as we know, the web is entirely populated by people complaining about something, I’ve read tales of woe with just about every set. Philips sets get rave reviews (given their genuinely superb “pixel plus” pictures) but are still teh crapness for reliability. Every time I start to be swayed, I’ll find another raft of complaints. Once bitten, twice shy. Meanwhile the Panasonic model I was considering has a nice picture too but gets flak for a potential magnetic “buzzing” fault which Panasonic refuse to acknowledge, and which may therefore be a pain to resolve. If it affects us. Which it might not. I hate decisions.

We have finally decided to plump for a Toshiba 32ZP48, which gets great reviews and seems to have almost no-one complaining about it (except for a few faulty sets where the geometry of the picture is off). I can find it for £660 delivered, which is a decent price. So if you think it’s rubbish, tell me now!

Replacing a TV which is sort of still working does feel a little bit self-indulgent, but picture faults seriously get on my nerves, and this is a pretty chronic one. So what the hell – this is why we earn the money in the first place!

1Mainly because it is dishonest. 🙂

Fatal Exception in Armpit

As if you needed any more proof that we are all cogs in a large machine, Microsoft has now patented the idea of using your skin as a network connection.

I think it’s rather cool, actually, although I think it would be terribly unfair if sweaty people got a faster transfer rate.

Plus, if Max Headroom taught me anything, it’s that this can only end in spontaneous human combustion….


Okay, our lovely Philips widesceen television is looking more than a little unwell. It’s not actually dead yet, but if this were a Spaghetti Western then someone would have just taken its measurements. Prognosis not good. 😦

Darn thing cost £1,000 about 18 months ago, but foolishly we didn’t invest in the extended warranty on account of being broke because we’d just bought a widescreen telly.

So here we are, six months out of guarantee, and the tube’s gone plink. The picture looks like nothing so much as a crappy back-projected TV with horrible over-exposed highlights and a strange gauzy red tint over everything. Worse, I check online and the review forums are full of people complaining of the *exact same problem* for this model, which apparently has a dodgy tube. Where were these people when I was meticulously researching the best TV 18 months ago, that’s what I want to know!


Comet have already given me the runaround on the idea of getting a free replacement, so I’ve resigned myself to trying our local TV repair shop. Fingers crossed that the repair will cost significantly less than the TV, otherwise it’s brand new telly time again.