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  • Writer's pictureAndy Ross

TV Confusion

You know those insurance company ads that talk about what happens when you start to become your own parents? I fear that I am living that reality. I’ve always been the technical one in the family. The one who knows how to work all the electronics, set up a VCR back in the day, and always could point people in the right direction. Yet, dear reader, I fear the predictions of those commercials are coming true.

I’ve noticed little small patterns in my behavior that ring a familiar, parental bell. The biggest one as of late? I, Mr. Technical, am extremely confused about what TV to buy next. Why? It’s simple, really. It’s downright mathematical. I haven’t had to get a new TV since 2006. Yet, my beloved rear projection Digital Light Processing TV which is the cornerstone of my home theater has begun to show signs that it’s on the last legs.

A DLP TV uses a special projection bulb that you have to replace every few years, but the replacement bulbs are getting harder to find. Last year, when it came time to replace the bulb after a five-year run, I had to go with an off-brand bulb. The results were fine, but the new bulb has been in for less than a year and has begun to flicker. The first sign of failure in a DLP bulb. When I put that bulb in, I decided when it went it would be time to replace the TV, instead of chasing down bulbs of diminishing quality.

But I, Mr. Technical, can easily pick a new TV for my home theater. “What a simple task this shall be!” I say to myself while looking like an 1800s weightlifter in one of those striped leotards. “Lemme pull up a tech website and see their best TVs guide.” I do a google and next thing you know I’m browsing The Verge and looking over a list of TVs.

Obviously, TVs have changed a great deal since 2006. The first thing I see is a lot of chatter about what TV will make my video games look so good I shall weep. These all feature those dreaded words that someone who is looking for a TV that will be used mostly for movies can’t abide. “A lot of motion smoothing processing.” I’m a purist when it comes to image quality. I want my movies to look like movies, not like some third-rate soap opera from 1997.

Motion smoothing will do that to a movie. Kill all the cinematic quality. So I keep reading and then I find one that seems perfect, has a custom movie mode and it’s easy to kill off the motion smoothing without going through 900 different menu screens. Then I started to fall into the weeds. OLED, Mini-LED, 4K, 8K(!?), Google TV, Roku TV, WebOS. This is when I said a phrase that made me realize I’m becoming my father. I, at this moment, said aloud: “Can’t you just get a basic TV anymore?”

Don’t get me wrong. I want a 4K TV. That’s a no-brainer. Ideally, I could find a TV that has all the movie-centric features I want, but without the smart feature. I have an AppleTV box to handle all my streaming needs. I don’t need yet another way to connect to YouTube and watch cat videos. Then there’s the fact that I am a “beyond the average” movie-watching madman who will 100% want to find a way to hook up his long outdated Laserdisc and VCR up to a modern, 4K TV.

Yet it worried me as I found myself reacting towards new tech the way I used to chortle over when my Dad would comment similar towards something a good twenty-plus years ago. What if those insurance ads are a harbinger of my future? What if I soon complain about popcorn prices at the movies? What if I buy the same lame polo shirts over and over again? I think I better go lie down and worry bout this for a while. See you next week.


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