Sunday, December 7, 2008

Geeky Gadget Research

I’m standing at the back of Best Buy, staring at the wall of flat screens. I’m trying to compare the images from two TV’s in particular. My eyes dart back and forth between the screens, carefully studying every detail. To everyone else in the store, I probably look like a real idiot.

“By the end of the year, I will have a HD TV!” I proclaimed a few months ago. Surprisingly, I’ve been late to the whole HD game and had decided I was long overdue to plunge headfirst into twenty-first century TV technology. This declaration was met with a “meh” from WonderWife™.

“I promise you, you’re going to love this. It’s going to be just like when I got us Tivo,” I told her.

WW™ rolled her eyes, “Whatever, dude.”

Okay, so I was on my own. Bringing my plan to fruition was going to cost money and time. The money part was being taken care of, since I had been squirreling away funds for this endeavor for a while. But I am a geek and when buying a new gadget, I must research. If the purchase is consummation, than the research is foreplay. Much like foreplay, there is a lot of planning involved. Tactics. Strategy. The internet must be scoured for information. Brands compared. Customer reviews from Amazon, Price Grabber and Consumer Reports are cross-referenced. For when I buy a new gadget, I want to make sure I know what is the best.

But alas, I cannot always have the best because the best costs a lot of money. Even if we weren’t in these tough economic times, I’ve got a family to support. As much as I want to be ahead of the technological curve, concessions have to be made. Which is why I spent the greater part of 20 minutes ping-ponging between two TV sets during my lunch break.

Every review I read told me that set #1 had the better picture. But set #1 costs $300 more than set #2. Best Buy had both sets displayed side by side. I sat there, scrutinizing the images on each TV. I couldn’t really detect a difference. After a few minutes, I thought that the picture on the more expensive set was slightly better…maybe. But is it a $300 difference? If somebody switched the tags on the TVs, would I even be able to tell them apart? Wait…by even having this inner monologue, am I betraying my self-proclaimed geekboy status? Shouldn’t I automatically get the best piece of tech that I can? It wasn’t long before self-doubt set in, threatening to turn this otherwise happy jaunt to the electronics store into an existential crisis.

Thankfully, the answer hit me before I worked myself into a shame spiral. It’s so simple. Use the money saved by getting the cheaper TV to buy a soundbar. Problem solved. Sure it’s not the best TV, but I will have the latest innovations in stereo sound. Yes, I’m still very much a geek.


Emily said...

My parents just got a new HD set with a soundbar. It was a big upgrade for them, but an even larger one for me, since I got their old set. I moved from a 27" made in the early '80s that wasn't compatible with DVD players to a 40" from the late '90s. Big upgrade!

I hope all of that didn't give you a geeky heart attack. :)

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

I wonder if SciFi Dad read this post!?! He has been dreaming of an HD TV for quite sometime, but unfornately we have been putting our money away for other things like a house and now kids...he laments over it quite often and I feel the same way as your wife does.

Our issue is that we would need to invest in the tv, the hd box, the new entertainment unit, so it's not as simple as purchasing just the tv.

One day!!!

SciFi Dad said...

I can't really add anything to what my wife already said.

(Yes, I'm THAT guy.)

Daddy Geek Boy said...

MTM...I've been in the same boat too. A new TV means new HD receiver, new unit, etc etc etc. It's been a long time in the making.

Your escalator operator said...

Congrats on the purchase. I've been mulling this one for a while to (about, um, er, three years) and think I'll finally pull the trigger before the end of the month. What kind did you get?

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Well...I haven't actually purchased the TV yet. I've been watching and waiting for sales. But the TV I want has been taken off sale this week. I need to get it before Dec 20th, which is when DirecTV comes out to change my dish and set up the HD access.

For the record, I've been looking at the Samsung 550 and 650. I swear, I could not tell much of a difference between the two models.