Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Home Entertainment

DEBORAH CROMBIE: This is what happened at our house on Saturday night.


One minute, there was a normal picture, then this! With no warning, the TV was suddenly toast. I was astonished when we looked back through our records and realized it was eight years old. This started me thinking about how our home entertainment expectations have changed over the years. (Remember when we called them television sets?)

We went from the huge cabinets with tiny screens of the fifties and sixties, to TVs that would fit on a stand. Then we started to hide them. One of our first really big furniture purchases when we moved into our house in the mid-nineties was a beautiful cherry entertainment cabinet for the TV. It fit to the left of our fireplace (where you can see the antique mirror in the photo above.) When the door was opened, the shelf that held the TV could be pulled out a few inches, then swiveled for better viewing. Of course, the door was hardly ever closed, so all the fancy furniture to make the TV invisible didn't do much good! (We don't have a den, by the way, so the living room is the only option other than the small TV in our kitchen.) 

Then, in the mid-2000s, the first flat screen TVs began to be available at (sort of) reasonable prices, and of course one was a must for my techie husband.

I was horrified! You want to put that ugly thing over my beautiful fireplace? And it's huge! I liked the painting we had in that spot, too. Rick actually cut out a cardboard template to show me how much space a 50" TV would take up, and of course I gave in. That was the plasma screen, which lasted almost ten years. Then, the inches crept up to 55 with the LCD flat screen that just went kaput, and now I never even think about the fact that this screen is the predominant thing in our living room. In fact, the empty wall looks very weird.


Who knows what we'll end up with this time, but in any case, an unexpected merry Christmas to us! Ouch!

REDS and readers, how does the TV/home entertainment fit into your house? Do you take the central screen for granted? 

63 comments:

  1. I guess we do take the television for granted . . . we’ve always had one, but didn’t rush out and get a flat screen one the moment they came out. But, you know, you have trouble with the one you have and you end up getting a new one because somehow they’re no longer fixable . . . .
    We actually replaced our television recently when the one we had developed strange circles of light across part of the screen. The television sits on a cabinet [with shelves filled with videotapes and DVDs] at one end of the living room . . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TV repair shops are definitely a thing of the past!

      Delete
  2. I've finally gone to a wall mount, which I am enjoying. 4K. But I still have my 27in old TV in the bedroom for the few minutes I turn it on a month. I was happy with that TV when I got it back in the 90's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the 90s, Mark, good for you! Don't want to jinx you!

      Delete
    2. Mark, my little 19 inch TV in the kitchen is from the 90s, too, but with ROKU on it, it is perfectly fine.

      Delete
  3. My 39" SMART TV is more than 10 years old since I brought it with me from Toronto. I don't have cable TV but my Roku is connected to it so I can watch my streaming channels and live news broadcasts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we are all Roku, no cable, too.

      Delete
    2. We got rid of cable ten years ago after we learned to drive Roku! And we have a little rabbit eared antenna for network. Works great. Just recent we got fiber optic internet service and kissed Spectrum goodbye forever.

      Delete
  4. Sorry about the kaput screen, Debs! I remember when there were only three channels and you had to get out of your seat and turn a knob to change them...

    Our TV is ten years old, so it might die any day now. It lives in Hugh's lair, because he watches a lot and I rarely do. Have no idea how big it is! And now if I want to watch a show he doesn't care about (the Crown, for example), I just sit in front of my downstairs laptop and stream it. Not a big screen, but I'm so close it doesn't seem to matter, and I run the sound through a good wifi speaker.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I watch on my laptop sometimes, too, but mostly for things Rick doesn't want to watch, I watch on small kitchen TV while doing chores. This can make it really hard to keep up with mystery plots, lol

      Delete
  5. We have built-in spaces and that limits the size of TV we can get! Our son has a TV that looks like a nice painting when it's not in use. I think you can choose your artwork Debs--maybe that would work for you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that's the Samsung Frame and we initially ordered that but the company didn't deliver and now we're trying to get a refund. In the meantime, Rick discovered that with the Black Friday deals, we can get a real OLED (the best technology) which would normally be out of our budget. I have to admit I'm a little disappointed about The Frame. It looks pretty cool.

      Delete
  6. I think we all take the TV for granted, which is why we probably all freak out when it "suddenly" goes kaput.

    How does TV fit into my home? As a confirmed TV-aholic, it is a pretty huge important part of everyday life. The news in the morning, all my shows at night. The TV in the living room was a gift from my sister and her husband to my mom. But it was the year my mom passed away so she barely got a chance to use it. Thus it has been "mine" for a number of years. I have one in my bedroom as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We don't keep the TV on all the time, but still it seemed very strange not to have it!

      Delete
  7. In the beginning we had the new flatscreen over the fireplace. I hated it. Now we have it on the opposite wall and an expensive piece of art in its proper place on the mantle.

    And we had the same experience with an Amish build cherry “entertainment” center. TV cabinet with doors we never shut plus two side cabinets fot stereo components. All that lovely expensive furniture is now here and there in various bedrooms. Can’t even give it away, much less sell it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ann, I added shelves to the TV space in one of these and Presto! plenty of space to store (read: hide) a 7-year-old's art supplies, books, miscellaneous electronic gear, etc.

      Delete
    2. Ann, that cherry cabinet (It really was a beautiful piece of furniture) went to our next door neighbor who re-furbished the inside to make it a drinks cabinet. Then Kayti bought that house so she inherited it and it actually moved with them to their new house. Now I think they've given it away, however. It had a long life.

      Delete
  8. Am I the only one without a wall-mounted flat screen TV? My 2 (why do I need 2??) are moveable with little feet. And not so big... And I'd be so sad if they went gaflooey. They're just big enough that I can read the closed captions from 10 feet away. My son-in-law installed ROKU for me which certainly widens the horizons of what I can watch. And I just learned how to program it to tape shows... I am so behind the times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And Debs, that fireplace is SO GORGEOUS!

      Delete
    2. You're not the only one without a wall-mounted TV, Hallie. We're in that club with you.

      Delete
    3. Hallie and Amanda, right here with you and perhaps a few steps beyond. The last TV I owned — a hand me down from a friend who could not understand how anyone could LIVE w/out TV, —was a portable with a wire clothes hanger “rabbit ear” antenna. It went kaput in 1991. No plans to get another. My iPad and laptop do just fine thank you. Elisabeth

      Delete
    4. The TV I mention in my post above is on my coffee table.

      Delete
    5. Our TV is not wall-mounted either.

      Delete
    6. No wall-mounted TV here, either. My TV is on the coffee table, at the far end of the living room. I inherited it when my sister died six years ago, and I have never used it. I don’t have cable, and haven’t had it for many years. A couple of months ago I decided that I might look into using the TV. Then I noticed that the screen is badly scratched. I don’t know what that means as far as using it is concerned. (No, I didn’t bother turning it on. Don’t ask!) The TV is twelve years old now, and that may end up affecting whether or not I can use it. I had wanted to watch my streaming services on it because watching them on my phone tires out my eyes after a little while.

      DebRo

      Delete
    7. You get spoiled to the "home theater" very quickly.

      Delete
    8. Hallie, our TV in the living room really needs to be wall-mounted. It is currently on a table in front of the fireplace, and that's awful. And, hurray for ROKU. My husband has it on all four of our TVs and it cut our phone bill down almost a hundred dollars. I was resistant at first because I thought I would lose channels. I have more channels with ROKU than I know what to do with.

      Oh, and because I love to share word information, I'm going to include here about the word "hurray" (hooray, etc.) The word didn't look right when I typed it out, so I looked it up, and here is the helpful (?) information I found:
      "Hooray is a word to shout when you want to celebrate something. Hooray is an interjection, meaning it's a term used to express emotion, often outside of a sentence. Hooray is sometimes spelled hurray. Both words are variants of the word hurrah (which can also be spelled hoorah)."

      Delete
  9. We still laugh! When we married and combined households in 1981, he brought the color TV, and I had the German Shepherd and an Oldsmobile convertible!

    ReplyDelete
  10. We have a small TV on a wooden cabinet that we push/pull into place if we want to watch it. Mostly, however, we stream on our laptops. So convenient.

    ReplyDelete
  11. We live in a bungalow, so our TV set up is just like yours, Debs. But somehow we still have stray cords on the mantel - to connect to a soundbar and an hdmi cable to hook up the laptop for watching PBS Passport shows through the TV. I envy you your clean no-cord look.

    The gigantic TVs are such a pleasure to catch scenery in shows like Shetland or nature documentaries. But it was hard to get used to how big people's faces were - right there in the living room.

    Also - what a gorgeous fireplace you have with the typical bungalow green glazed tiles. Ours came with original brick -awful brown brick that just blended with the brown oak around it. Though original, we covered it with green tile. Not as nice as yours, but better than what we had.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Long story on the fireplace. Fifteen years ago (!!) we had to have major foundation work, adding about 20 concrete piers, which raised our house almost a foot--leaving our chimney a foot below grade. It had to be pulled down and rebuilt, so Rick had them put in conduit for the entertainment system wiring. We also had a new mantel built and we ordered the arts and crafts tile from a company in Portland, OR, which specialized in arts and crafts design. They had done tile work for the London Library! The design is a MacIntosh rose.

      Delete
  12. I remember making the big upgrade to a flat screen TV, maybe for a World Cup? Our family room is mostly windows and a monster Abe Lincoln stone fireplace. Finding a place in the room for a flat screen TV was a challenge. I finally had shelves and cabinets made with a 40 inch opening for a swivel base TV, surrounded by bookshelves, photos, and "objects". The TV is there if you look for it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am remembering the very first TV my family had, must have been just before 1950. The screen was small but the set itself was rather long so my father cut a hole in the wall and pushed it through to the bathroom where the back end sat on a shelf. There were not many programs to watch then but since no one else in the neighborhood had a TV people would come over on Saturday nights and watch the fights.

    In 2010 I won a very nice gift card and so I bought a smart TV which my son mounted on the wall for me. It was quite expensive but it has held up very well, until now and I'm worried. Last night I noticed the screen seemed to be quite dark, like suddenly people on the show had turned off the lights in their house and were fairly sitting in the dark. I better start saving my money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Judi, that's exactly what happened with ours. Rick turned it off and when he turned it back on he got what you see in the picture. You might want to look at the Black Friday sales!

      Delete
    2. Good idea! Thanks, Deborah

      Delete
  14. We have a 43" on a stand in our living room and a 32" on the piano in the den. We don't have a good place for a wall mount. But the cottage is small, so eventually the TV - another 43" - will be mounted above the gas fireplace (if that ever gets installed, a separate drama). And we're going to put another one in the back bedroom. Personally, I don't see where two people need two TVs, but The Hubby insists we need one for "guests."

    The previous owners had converted the garage into a bonus-TV room. Although I had dreams of turning it back into a garage, The Hubby says the tile wasn't installed properly, so it won't withstand the weight of a car and he doesn't feel like breaking it apart. As far as I'm concerned, that can be his "man cave." I can see him getting an obnoxiously-sized TV for down there to watch football.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rick has our old plasma flat screen in his office, but mostly uses that for weather tracking. We also have a TV in our bedroom but we hardly ever watch it.

      Delete
    2. Liz, having lived adjacent to several condos from which old tile was removed, your husband’s to leave the tile down in the right. Title removal is an excessively noisy, body shaking experience! Elisabeth

      Delete
  15. Rhys: we have a dedicated tv room downstairs. It’s at the back of the house, under the garage and therefore dark and gloomy making it ideal for tv watching. But I tend to watch the set in the kitchen and bedroom more!

    ReplyDelete
  16. When a TV goes, shopping for a new one is like: What century did I miss? The technology changes by leaps and bounds, it seems. I have a 36" TV with built-in dvd player that I love--so easy to use, one remote to rule them all! Older nephew and his little one have a 36" smart-tv in the living room, sitting on the piano. We sometimes trade tvs. Youngest nephew has another in his bedroom because of gaming or occasional movies. That's enough to keep everybody happy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The changes in technology in the eight years since we bought this flat screen are pretty amazing.

      Delete
  17. We started out in 1984 with a 13” black and white TV complete with aluminum foil on the rabbit ear antenna sitting on a cardboard box. And you had to use pliers to change the channel as the knob had broken off. It came with my husband from college. By Christmas time we had upgraded to a color set with a push knob (still no remote) sitting in a crude wooden bookshelf. Fast forward to today and several televisions later, we have 3 TV’s. The main gigantic one with its own furniture is in the downstairs family room, there’s a smaller wall mounted one in the room with the exercise equipment, and one atop a cabinet in our bedroom.
    Along the way, that first color tv was delegated to our bedroom. In 6th grade for his science invention project to solve a problem, our oldest son put a rubber tip on the end of a wooden dowel so I could push the knob to turn the tv off without getting out of bed. Still couldn’t change channels from there, but it sufficed for watching the news. Solving one problem at a time!

    ReplyDelete
  18. We had one of those huge televisions when I was a kid. The screen was probably a foot around but the cabinet was three or four feet tall and wide. They ran on tubes in those days, featured "test" patterns and were only in black and white. Maybe it was a Philco? Or a Dumont? I bought my first color television in the 1980s! My dad said they would make you radioactive and refused to have one in the house. Now we have a 52" LED thing that sits on a stand on a console table - no wall large enough! This is a source of great comedy to me as we don't watch television, gave up cable and other services years ago and only use it to watch DVDs!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Debs, have the perfect solution for both Rick (the techie) and you (the artist) - the Sony SmArt TV. It hangs on your wall, and when not in use to stream the next episode of The White Lotus, it displays paintings, prints and art photography. I've seen one in person, and there's something about the screen that genuinely creates the illusion that it's NOT, well, a screen.

    It's pricey, but if the only place I could put a television (should we even call it that anymore? I just use mine as a streaming device) was in the living room, I'd invest in one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was going to recommend Samsung's The Frame TV, which also displays art. We got one last year, and I really love not having that big black box on the wall. It's also fun to pick an art collection and set it for slideshow, so you get new art every hour or every day.

      Delete
    2. Well, sigh, as I mentioned above, that's what we originally ordered but the company didn't deliver it as promised, and now Rick's decided he wants a different one. I was quite excited about The Frame.

      Delete
    3. Deb, my Samsung went kaput after only a few years too, total black screen with no warning! Julia, I now have a Sony Smart TV & love it. Yes, those pictures while it's on standby are so beautiful in 4K technology! It's got my vote. Charlene Miller-Wilson

      Delete
  20. Diana, we always have captions turned on. They work just fine on the flat TVs.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I consider myself somewhat of a techie—I try to stay up on the latest Macs, iPhones, etc. And we have an EV. But for some reason the TV just hasn't fit into that mindset. One of these days our old flat screen will die and we'll have to look at the new stuff. I've checked them out at Costco a couple of times, but just don't see the need until doomsday arrives. With that said, the concept of a TV that can stream artwork is pretty cool (flip side-it's using some of that precious energy we generate with the solar panels!) Aargh! Life is always full of compromises!

    ReplyDelete
  22. OHHHH, I need to know this! Our TV is dying, it's dying every day, and I have no idea what kind to get. It has to go on a swivel table (long story) and cannot be mounted on a wall (longer story) and cannot be HUGE. I don't even know how to know where to look. I did go to wirecutter, of course, but I'm still baffled. I am so eager to read all your posts, and Debs, eager to hear what you both decide. DO you think there's planned obsolescence to occur around holiday time??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably, Hank! It didn't even occur to us at first that there would be Black Friday deals!

      Delete
    2. Ohhhhh….. right. Or it might be something more sinister.

      Delete
  23. We spent a few years prioritizing bigger is better and surround sound makes it better than better. Eventually it dawned on us that we were spending more time passively watching other people’s creative products than on our own work. We now have an inexpensive flat screen (32-inches) that has three streaming services (Netflix, AppleTV, and Amazon) and that’s it. We’ve scaled back dramatically on time spent watching and are working to cut further. I know our lifestyle choices aren’t for everyone and I definitely appreciate the thrill of big screen entertainment in house. The shock of the silence (no news, weather, sports on in the background) was unsettling at first, but now is something we crave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We actually never leave the TV on unless we are watching something specific. We don't normally watch news, weather, or sports, but check these things on our computers when needed. But we really enjoy our "movie nights" watching the big TV, usually something streaming. The dogs and cats love these family nights, too!!

      Delete
  24. When I married my husband way back in 1976, his family owned and operated several TV and Appliance stores. They later added furniture. He grew up surrounded by televisions, both at their stores and at home. As soon as color TV was available, his family had it. I grew up with one TV in the house, in the basement family room, and it was in black and white. My parents didn't own a color TV until shortly after my husband and I married. If you don't know what you're missing, you don't miss it. At some point we needed TVs in the bedroom and kitchen. I never thought that TVs went in the living room, and then my husband went away to the Army, and I decided, since it was both warmer and cooler in our living room, I would put a TV in there. I do think I need to get it mounted on the wall. Right now it hides the fireplace. When husband got home sixteen years later, we didn't particularly want to watch the same programs, each having gotten used to having a main TV to ourselves. So we have a nice sized TV in the family room and a larger one in the living room (plus small ones in the kitchen and my bedroom). My husband announced the other day that he thought it was time to trade out the TV in the living room for a bigger TV (I think a 65 inch) and put the living room TV in the family room. It would be our Christmas present to each other. I'm going to go along with that, but I'm still getting my bag of books under the tree. Oh, I should note that husband and I do watch some TV together, like University of Kentucky basketball (got beat last night, ouch) and The Walking Dead and some other programs. I rarely watch TV in my bedroom anymore. In fact, I can't remember the last time I did. I read in bed, not watch TV. Also my husband goes to bed at the unheard of hour of 9:00 p.m., sometimes just a bit later, but not by much. I am a night owl, which goes well with my Great-Horned Owl that hoots outside my bedroom window.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Two flat screens in our household since we each watch different things. However, they sit on furniture, not wall mounted. I hate the idea of a TV over the fireplace. First off, it's too high. I refuse to sit and crane my neck to watch TV! And I wonder about TV repair these days. Do you call the geeks at Best Buy if something isn't right? The downstairs TV makes a popping noise from time to time and I hope it isn't an omen. That TV is only 4 years old or so.

    ReplyDelete
  26. That is an ouch, indeed. We have just one flatscreen TV in our living room - no den here either - and it is weird to think about it has progressively grown bigger, flatter, and takes up one wall. If they could have seen this is the fifties...minds blown. LOL.

    ReplyDelete
  27. My brother has one of those frame TV things in his downstairs bar. When I stay with my mom I have to go through that area to get to the room I sleep in, and the thing apparently has a motion sensor on it. So disconcerting to see it light up randomly.

    They have TVs in every room, including their en suite bath. We have two, one in the living room--not over the fireplace because that's too high for viewing. Instead, it's set to the side in its own part of the bookshelves. The other one is in the family room, set on an antique buffet. Both have feet, by the way. The living room TV was meant to be mounted into a special piece in the built-in shelves, but the carpenter installed it wrong. C'est la vie.

    We bought the newest one from a friend a few years ago, when he was replacing his "old" TV, then about four years old. The other is getting on in age, at least 16 years old, but still cooking along. I've been thinking about replacing that one, though, with all these tempting sales going on. It would really be nice not to have so darn many remotes.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I, too, lost a "discussion" with my husband over screen size. We have a big one, and now I wonder how other people can see on small screens.

    ReplyDelete
  29. When I look at the TVs at Costco, the prices match my early cars . . . and car prices reflect earlier house prices. Maybe we do need to think smaller?

    ReplyDelete
  30. One solution I've seen is to have the screen scroll artwork or scenery when not watching a program.

    ReplyDelete