Thursday, September 28, 2006

My Favorite Shows and Why We Gave Away Our TV

We watch TV every day. We love TV. We like a lot of shows. So we gave away our TV. We even ripped out the built-in entertainment center and gave that away - all the pieces.

Now we -
Watch TV every day - more than ever
Love TV more than ever
Like even more shows
Have a projector and a 110-inch screen - that's the diagonal measurement!!!

So here's what happened. We had a 36-inch TV. We were ready for a larger picture, a 16:9 aspect ratio, HD programs, and a bit more space in our family room (depth of our TV box was about 26 inches).

PLAN A - Buy a new TV, modify entertainment center to accomodate it, upgrade cable to HD.
Results: Went shopping for TV. Leaning toward 62-inch LCD (bigger, even when viewing regular TV in 4:3 aspect ratio). Depth of box was 19 inches (better, but not what I would call a flat screen). Hesitation set in because we were not feeling a Wow Factor intense enough to warrant the price.

If you want to play around with the relationship between TV sizes and aspect ratios, check out this calculator at TV Size Calculator . Just fill in two numbers and you'll get a very thorough analysis including the screen area and the non-diagonal measurements.

PLAN B - Buy a new TV, rip out entertainment center, buy or build a more minimalist furniture "thing", upgrade cable to HD, buy a screen and a projector for watching movies.

Results: Now we're really getting into pricey areas. A TV and a projector? So when would we watch the TV? I think we both realized that the TV would never be used if everything looked bigger with the projector.

And then the Video Genius of the family (not me) pushed us off the edge. He bought an inexpensive projector ($500 after rebates). He bought a large window shade and mounted it on a homemade wooden frame. He then leaned this screen in front of the 36-inch TV and "Big Screen TV" was a reality! No, it wasn't HD - not yet. No, it didn't make the room look bigger - not yet. But we never turned on the TV again.

PLAN C - Buy an HD projector, rip out the entertainment center, upgrade cable to HD, buy a good quality screen that is bigger than any TV we could ever buy.

Results: Done. The combined cost of the projector and screen was less than $3000. We hung the screen on the wall and built a long, low table for our components. Video Genius crawled around in the attic for a week and hung the projector from the ceiling. Now we're also wired for TV on the patio. Sometimes we put the inexpensive projector and screen out there.

We are completely satisfied, totally thrilled, truly amazed. Regular programs look great. HD programs on a 110-inch screen are like windows to another world. And we're ready for all that additional HD programming that is predicted.

There were additional expenses. We have tile in the family room, but only up to the built-in entertainment center. We paid to have additional tile installed. Then there was the cable upgrade and we purchased some additional speakers for the patio. We upgraded our amp and dvd equipment. We painted the wall before hanging the screen. We bought something called a DVDO. You can read more about it at DVDO Website .

Oh yeah, and here's a list of our favorite shows, in no particular order -

Project Runway
Design Star
American Idol
Roseanne reruns
Fresh Prince reruns
The Cosby Show reruns
Will and Grace reruns
Good Eats
30 Minute Meals
The Next Food Network Star
Inside the Actors Studio
Without a Trace
Real Time with Bill Maher
Antiques Roadshow

Recently off the list because we got bored with them -
CSI – all of them
Law and Order – all of them

Off the list because the show ended and we’re not ready for reruns -
Six Feet Under

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

This Dish is Still Smoking

I quit smoking this week, but that's not why I started this blog. Well, maybe it's the reason I started it today - replace one habit with another. My last quitting attempt was for two months. My most successful attempt was for ten years. When I tell people this they seem to go speechless. Incredibly stupid of me to have started smoking again, huh?

Let's get one thing clear (and probably only this one thing will be clear) - this blog will not be just about smoking. Actually, the less said about it, the better.

This is my first blogger experiment. I don't know where things will go - thoughts and feeds.