Sunday, January 26, 2020

A new TV comes into focus

I am a child of the '50s.

Which means I am a child of the television generation.

Out with the old...
 (Well, OK, so the first televised picture occurred in London in 1925. But television as a commercial [pun intended] mass medium hit its stride in the 1950s. Captain Kangaroo. Mighty Mouse. Mickey Mouse. Superman. Howdy Doody. Sky King. So if you are of a certain age, you know what I mean).

But I grew up with it, even though commercial television was once famously described as a "vast wasteland" by some fellow named Newton Minow, who just happened to be the Federal Communications Commission chairman in 1961. I was 10 years old. I didn't care. I loved my wasteland.

So television, as either background noise or source entertainment, has always been a fixture in my life. I can't remember a time without a Philco or a Motorola somewhere close by.

But a couple of weeks ago, our ancient 20-something year-old RCA console started showing its age. Unrelenting white horizontal bands kept flipping upwards through the screen whenever I turned on the set, and they simply weren't abating.

The message was clear: it was time to upgrade.

I did my due diligence and visited various electronics stores and warehouses, got help from Google and bored to tears all my friends when I asked them what kind of TVs they had. with the new.
 About a week ago, we took another plunge into the 21st century when our 49-inch LG SmartTV arrived from Shumakers (I like to buy local, when I can, to keep our tax dollars in Davidson County, and you can't beat the personalized service).

Although I've seen flat screen TVs in sports bars and elsewhere, I was astonished by the picture that was now in my house. The new 49-inch screen audaciously replaced the obsolete 32-inch RCA, and suddenly, I felt like I was in a theater. I was almost taking snaps from center when I watched the NFL playoffs, or standing over testy putts while reading the green as I watched tournaments on the Golf Channel.

Close ups of human beings actually showed blue eyes, wrinkles and nose hairs.

Holy smokes.

I think we're probably going to cut the cable soon, and go with a streaming service, which will knock down the number of all those wasteland stations I don't watch but still pay for.

I'm still a little intimidated, though. My new TV is asking me if I want to update my software. I didn't expect that. I just wanted to see the basketball game. I don't want to be an IT guy.

It seems just about everything I own now is smarter than me (probably not a surprise to some people): My new 4G cellphone upgrade is a computer, my TV is a computer, my car is a computer, even my computer is a computer.

It's not easy being a child of the '50s.

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