Bravo for the Bravia

I seem to recall that when we purchased our first television as a couple, it was a 23” color model that fit nicely on a TV table and kept us entertained. Soon after, we indulged and bought a VCR, adding it to our second apartment and marveling at the ability to timeshift our viewing habits. Deb said we’d probably need no more than 10 tapes to record, recycle and maybe save one or two things.

I think we stopped counting blank tapes after 72 and never kept track of all the prerecorded programming we, and the kids, accumulated.

When we renovated the family room in 2001, all I asked for was a 36” television, wanting to take advantage of the larger screens then available. Deb was skeptical until it arrived and we wired it up. Wisely, the first thing I played for her was West Side Story, one of her favorites. She suddenly saw that a larger screen made some sense.

Then came the DVD player and we kept the VHS around when we had programming conflicts. In time, though, we stopped taping, especially when the cable box suddenly allowed us to watch one thing and digitally record two more shows. By then, we stopped buying prerecorded tapes, switching entirely to DVD. Slowly, the prerecorded tapes were replaced with the DVD versions.

More recently, Blu-ray discs have been arriving and already have started replacing some of the DVDs (thanks to review copies for ComicMix). The Blu-ray player, which arrived over the summer, was cool but needed the next generation television to really wow us.

We talked about upgrading for some time but wanted to figure out which standard (plasma vs. LCD) might gain supremacy and then wait for prices to drop. Well, the latter is still duking it out but prices have been falling. Also over the summer, we received our overdue tax refund and Deb said it can be wisely reinvested into the economy, in part through a flatscreen television.

We asked out friends and family for advice. We read CNET regularly; we scanned prices for the models we admired. Our shopping trips invariably led us to gaze at the various models on display, comparing size and clarity.  Finally, we settled on a Sony Bravia, 52 glorious inches in size. A sale with free shipping and installation sealed the deal and it was ordered.

We bought a credenza to place the new TV atop and began rearranging things to make it fit. As I boxed up the VHS tapes, I seriously questioned if we needed them all. I culled through them, keeping anything that featured the kids from conventions or school plays, and then consigned the rest to the scrap heap. The pre-recorded VHS tapes can go to the Library. Another of era of technology was closed.

Yesterday, the flatscreen arrived. The sharpness of the image and beauty of the color is everything we had hoped for. Standard DVDs looked better and the Blu-ray discs are amazing.  We ordered an HD digital DVR from Cablevision and then we can truly enter the 21st century by switching out network viewing habits to HD. When the Blu-ray disc was popped in for sampling, we settled back on the couch and watched. Deb, who was always skeptical that 52 inches might be too large, gazed at Hugh Jackman and said, “No, it’s not too large. This is good.”

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