New TV

· mumblings ·

It must the technology breakdown season or something: after the amp blew a capacitor, both our ancient TV and the less ancient Freeview box started to go on the blink. The Freeview box was crashing and needed to be rebooted and retuned several times a week, always -- as luck would have it -- just as some programme we wanted to catch from the beginning was starting. When I was a kid, we used to have to turn our old black and white set on a few minutes early to let it 'warm up', so this didn't feel like great progress. The TV was also having picture and sound problems, which pretty much covers all the critical elements necessary for a satisfying TV-watching experience.

So we bit the bullet and joined the 21st Century by buying a widescreen LCD TV which was in a sale. After living with a 20 inch 4:3 format CRT screen for so many years, the 32 inch 16:9 TV seems gigantic. No more do we have to squint at the narrow strip of slightly fuzzy picture when sitting more than a couple of metres away. It has made the whole TV, DVD or EyeTV recording-watching process much more enjoyable now that we can actually see the visual details properly and hear the dialogue and sound effects clearly.

The radical change in the quality of our viewing experience (and the earlier improvement in our listening setup with the new amp) prompted me to rearrange the living room. The room isn't large, so rearranging the furniture is a bit like a slightly frustrating game of Tetris, but I think the new arrangement works better. We used to have the sofa at one side of the living room and quite close to the TV because of the size of the screen. This meant that we were at an awkward angle to it, and had the speakers on the other side of the room, at right angles to the TV. Now that we can sit a healthy distance from the screen and still see it, we could put the sofa across the end of the room, facing the TV. That also meant that I had space to move the speakers either side of the TV, so that we can supplement the TV's speakers with the floorstanders -- it's poor-man's surround sound, but it definitely adds to the experience. Also, since the speakers are firing down the long axis of the room instead of the short axis, it works better with the acoustics of the room.

The expression of Cleo (our cat) the first time she walked into the rearranged room was priceless. She looked at where the sofa used to be and did the closest thing I've ever seen to a double-take in a cat. Then she looked at me with a "What the hell's going on? Where's all my stuff?" look for a bit, before settling a bit grumpily on the sofa in its new position.