About a year and a half ago, I wrote about how I had made a vow that I would not replace our old TV with a new flat screen TV until it died.
Well, I broke my vow.
The old TV was a 32″ Toshiba tube TV. I purchased it in early 1997 for around $800 from Best Buy. At the time, I had been out of college for just under a year, and this was a great TV for my roommate and I. Pretty much everybody else in our age group was sitting at a 27″ or lower.
We enjoyed the heck out of that TV, and our apartment was the de facto hangout place for our friends. Not just because of the TV, but it made watching movies, watching TV, and most importantly, playing video games, a total blast. We played a lot of Madden football (Madden '98!) and NBA Live '97. Lots of great times!
At the years went on, we all grew up. My roommate moved out and eventually to the other side of the state. I ended up buying a condo in 1999. The TV came with. However, even within a couple of years, the TV was pretty average, and a few years after that when flat screen HD TVs started hitting the market, it was nothing at all special.
Except to me. I still took great care of the TV, making sure to be very careful moving it, cleaning it regularly, and trying to make it last as long as possible.
Eventually, time passed up the TV, which was evident when HD programming was the norm and the once proud TV could, try as it might, no longer deliver the great picture, top resolution, and amazing viewing experience that it once was known for.
Still, I made the resolution that I would keep the TV until it died. But, as I already said, I broke the vow.
- When I wrote that article, the TV appeared to be going south – Around the time that I wrote that, there were some spots in the bottom corner of the TV which were different colors than elsewhere on the screen. I thought the TV was about ready to go, but one day, it suddenly corrected itself and rarely reappeared. I guess, yes, I had been actually hoping in a way that the TV would go.
- We found a great deal on a great TV – I always keep a look out for TV deals. I have passed over many, many cheap TVs because they didn't meet the top standard that I was hoping for, and I'd passed over a lot of high quality sets because I couldn't find a price I was happy with. Finally, I found one (another Toshiba, in fact) that was rated very highly by professionals and customers, and it was at a fantastic price. Bottom line, we got a 50″ plasma TV for $450, which normally retailed for at least $650 elsewhere.
- We had the money for it – All of our credit cards are cash back reward cards. We put the money in a discretionary fund with the sole purpose to purchase TVs and other electronic items. We already purchased a small flat screen for our kitchen and a decent size TV for our bedroom over the last few years. Last year we got checks totaling nearly $400, plus with money we had still in the account since the last purchase, we were more than able to cover the cost.
- Watching certain things just wasn't fun anymore – When HD TV was first introduced, I was fine with watching shows in standard definition. However, sporting events in particular got to be a lot less easy to watch as the feeds were changed to accommodate HD viewers. This meant that our 32″ screen was essentially shrunk to about half that size as they would ‘letterbox' the signal for standard defintion output. When our Detroit Tigers were in the World Series last year, it was tough to read the score of the game, that's how small the viewable screen size was.
- The old TV well exceeded it's value – When I spent the $800 on the old TV, that was a ton of money, especially for someone who hadn't cracked anywhere near even $30,000 a year in salary. Still, getting sixteen years out of the TV, we definitely got the $50 per year that worked out to. I realized that, although I did make that vow, that when I looked at how much value I had received from the TV compared to what I expected when I first purchased the set, I had come out way ahead. That reduced the guilt that I felt from breaking my promise (though I still did get a little choked up when I pulled that plug for the last time).
- It was or would have cost us money – The cost of running a flat screen is a lot less, so while I might have only been spending $2-3 per month on electricity costs, even cutting that in half with a more efficient set will help offset a bit of those costs. In addition, I could tell that the TV stand we have, though rated for a heavy set, was beginning to show a little sagging. If it had gotten worse, chances are we would have had to replace or repair the stand, which was not something I wanted to do at all. So, by getting rid of the old TV, we potentially saved the stand and will get many more years from that.
All in all, I don't feel (very) guilty about the purchase, though I did struggle with taking something out of use that technically still did work. After all, the old TV did still function and did exactly what it was supposed to do. It just didn't do what TVs today are capable of, and that of course is just a sign of the advancement of technology.
Readers, be honest. Did I do OK by breaking my vow or should I have held out a bit longer?