Sunday, August 03, 2008


I got a letter that my furniture has arrived in the UK while I was in the USA. Some phone tag later and the result is that I will be called soon about a date to deliver it here to my flat. Which means I will have a couch and can have more than two people over. This, of course, means I need a TV, so I can have people over every week like I used to in Boston and loved going to in LA. Also, so I can play computer games on consoles. I keep reading about cool games I want to try.

Now my examples and experiences have taught me that if you want the most school chums to come over, you have to have the coolest toys, so obviously I need a Big Ass TV. The hugest I can stand. So I have entered the world of buying flat panel TVs.

Oh god it is awful. No, seriously. You have to see them in action, and compare and that is just a mess. First of all these things are calibrated all over the place, so it is really hard to compare the screens even if they are all on the same signal, even if the signals are a pristine 1080p Blu Ray or console. Second, if the signal is TV it is almost pointless to even watch any of them, because every one of the 1080p screens is way more capable than the compressed badly transmitted signals of live jerky sports events coming in over the airwaves or Sky satellite, so every screen makes you wonder if any of this is actually worth it for actual television broadcasts, and the answer is, well, no. It's gonna look fuzzy and pans will hurt, and that seems to be true even when the signal is HD. Man did PAL and NTSC make the most of their blurryness to fool our brains into liking it. Then there's a hardware refresh every 6 months, and the new software in the chips actually does seem to matter a tiny bit, but the difference in price between the new models and the ones 6 months old hints at a speed of depreciation I have only seen in cars. Prices and brands are all over the place, even for same-sized models. And can I get myself to pay fourteenhudredfriggindollars for what 10 years ago I would spend 350 bucks on at most? Yeah, the pound conversion still is painful to behold, and buying one of these is not investing in an asset, it is sheer consumption.

It's really hard to make a choice, and it's no fun. But still, I remember that afternoon sitting in front of a 65" screen, with a PS3 player, playing a Blu Ray disc of Planet Earth. Every step in the chain was the best available, from the documentary to the player to the screen to the cables. And every guy in the room, all of us, who'd had consumed massive amounts of media or worked in it in some capacity, in TV, movies, rides, sites, all of us jaded, were watching a nature documentary, something we'd gotten over when were were 12 or so, and just couldn't stop watching because it was so beautiful.

--"Wait, what, are we seriously gonna watch some gazelles jum-- oh man this is awesome.
"Just wait until the jellyfish."
Yeah, I want that experience back.