Thursday, July 11, 2013

Plan for your TV future

My sister has had her venerable cathode-tube television forever. Well, maybe that's stretching it a bit, but I do recall seeing John Hewson trying to explain the GST on it. Now, with the closure of analog broadcasting coinciding with a new house, she finally accepts it's time to embrace a new century.

She has never been much interested in technology. She's comfortable with the internet but sees no point in connecting her television to it, and she considers 3D to be nonsense.

So her new telly will display broadcasts, plug into her husband's Foxtel and show a very occasional DVD. Plus, she specifies a maximum screen size of 106 centimetres, the biggest that will fit in her cabinet.

She tells me she explained this to the man at the store and he has suggested a basic telly on special. She emails the details to me and asks me what I think. ''Lunacy,'' I reply. ''It only has one HDMI and one component input.''


I'd like to say she looks at me blankly, but we're on the phone.

I suggest that, given she has kept her last telly for 25 years, she'll need flexibility for future changes, because there will be plenty. With her DVD player using the HDMI and Foxtel going in the component input, she would be out of luck for anything new.

I further suggest she look at the television's picture - really look at it in relation to those around it - before signing the credit card docket. She thinks I'm a perfectionist techno geek. A telly is a telly, she says.

I invite her to accompany me to the shops.

Tip: it's not all that easy to find a small, basic, non-internet, non-3D telly with lots of inputs. The best we can flush out is a Teac with a built-in DVD player, three HDMIs, a component and a USB input. There's also a TCL with one less HDMI, but it has a USB that records and plays, rather than just plays.

There are some nice offerings from Samsung and LG but they cost more than she wants to spend, and although the Sonys and Panasonics look great, she would be paying for technology she'd never use.

Finally, it's the picture quality of the Toshiba that sells her. It outperforms everything around it less than $500, and it's certainly the right price.

She isn't alone - the salesman tells us it's the biggest-selling small television the store stocks.

My sister looks at him, astonished. ''But it's huge,'' she says.
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