The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

January 28, 2008

The Perpetual March of Technology and Buyer’s Remorse

Filed under: Entertainment, Technology — Tags: , , — Brian Lutz @ 1:52 am

About two years ago,  I purchased the HDTV which I currently have in my living room.  It is a Viewsonic N3250w 32″ LCD with 720p resolution, and aside from the fact that doesn’t have a digital tuner and that it doesn’t seem to be compatible with any remote I have but its own, it has worked reasonably well for me.  At the time I purchased it, there was a coupon book deal at Costco Home* for $200 off the standard $1,000 price (which, if I recall correctly, was itself about $200 less than most places in town were selling a similar model for,) and the final price ended up being $800 plus tax.  This was a significant bargain for a TV of this size, and when I went to pick it up, it turned out that a few other people had the same idea, to the point that the initial shipment of 90 units was gone in less than an hour, and by the time I got there I ended up at position #250 on the waiting list they had created for future shipments of this model. 

At this point I assumed that I had roughly zero chance of ever getting one of these things, so I started looking for a Plan B.  I figured that I had managed to live for six months without having a TV in my apartment, so I could probably last a little while longer.  It was somewhat of a surprise when I got a call several weeks later that my turn had come up on the waiting list, and a TV was waiting for me at the store.  Not wanting to have them sell off my TV to the next guy to show up, I dropped everything and rushed over to the store, and  must admit that I may have exceeded the posted speed limit along the way a time or two.  After all,  a deal like that didn’t come up just every day.  Thanks to a somewhat inaccurate estimate of the size of the TV in relation to the size of the backseat of my car (if you recall, this was back when I was still driving my beater Camry with a non-openable trunk) they were somehow able to cram the TV into the backseat of the car, but there was no way the box was ever going to come back out in one piece.  Ultimately it was necessary to rip the box to shreds and extract the contents that way, but not before adding a number of additional rips to the upholstery in my car’s backseat, and breaking off one of the grab handles.  I can’t recall the last time anyone rode in the backseat of that car anyway, so this was no big deal.  After all, the TV was worth more than the car it was being transported in at the time.

Fast forward a couple of years, and suddenly that screaming deal doesn’t look quite so hot anymore. The 32″ LCD TVs that cost roughly $1,200 two years ago have come down in price by at least a third, and there are even 32″ models that can be found for $500 or less if you know where to look.  The $800 I paid for my TV will easily buy a 37″ model, and 42″ and 47″ 1080P models don’t cost a whole lot more than that.  Even Sony TVs are starting to get to the point of being almost affordable, although they continue to command a price premium of several hundred dollars over the competition.  Far be it from me to sound ungrateful, but at times it can be just a little hard to walk into a store and look at the ever shrinking pricetags on ever growing expanses of glowing pixels and wonder how I could have paid a whole eight freakni’ hundred bucks two years ago for what I could have gotten for $600 or less now, or noting that for not too much more than that $800 I could be the proud owner of a shiny new 47″ 1080P LCD. 

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