Speaking as an experienced father of five, the big screen is a worthwhile investment, trust me. It helps in so many ways, for example, it’s the desired destination for the teenage posse and at least I know where they are (they leave enough of a mess). For the pre-teen set playing the Nintendo Wii on a big screen is the ultimate in family gaming. (It’s withdrawal also comes in handy as an excellent punishment in the event chores are not getting done.) It’s my new media version of spare the Wii and spoil the child.
Beyond the parenting, I’ve learned a few things about logistics and new age entertainment that I’d like to share with HDTV buyers.
- Running wires is not as easy as it looks: You either need to be an electrician or good at drywall to do this yourself. Me, I’m good at watching TV, so I’m going to concentrate on that.
- Never underestimate the number of other machines that will go near the HDTV – To get that nice clean look you see in ads for televisions you need to think through where all the stuff that brings the picture, games, and movies to your screen is going to go. If you are really one of the cool kids, try a picture in a picture frame, literally
- Old school media needs a place too. By this I mean, DVDs, game CDs cartridges, etc. These necessary physical packages need to be somewhere around the TV, until of course we are downloading all of our programming and games from somewhere else. For the foreseeable future however, baskets, drawers, doors, can help hide the mess and make others believe you are really organized.
- Distance, angles, natural light, and pictures – All these variables will impact the experience. I purchased an LCD because of price, but really I should have gone with a plasma in a basement with no natural light or glare sources. I will likely move that basement TV to a bedroom and get a larger screen in the basement. Live and learn.
The big screen was the best family Christmas gift. I got the idea suddenly last year as I saw prices tank. I could have thought through the decision a bit more, but as it was I stayed within budget, so no regrets. This year, I’d suggest having 2 or 3 brands and models and prices in mind, then create a way to get alerts or go to websites weekly to check availablility. Here is a list of online TV etailers as a place to start
Have you shopped around for a set? What did you learn along the way?