January 08, 2007

Arrrrrrgh! - The Saga Continues

A few days back I wrote a cryptic blog post about me being very, very frustrated about something. I was holding off on being too specific, because I wanted to surprise Erik, and now he knows about it, so I can publicly vent.

My old Samsung 32" TV died quite awhile ago - like, a LONG, LONG time ago - and I've been holding off on getting a new one until I move out of my Dad's house this summer. I have a nice little gadget that allows me to plug in my cable feed to watch tv on my computer, so not having tv wasn't a major problem.

Over new years weekend, Erik started talking about how cool it would be if I got a tv, so we could play his new Nintendo Wii on it. While I liked the idea, I wasn't really going for it. "No, sweetie - we'll get a nice one when we move out. We can wait it out."

And then, at the beginning of last week, the DVD player on my iMac started being a little bitch. While trying to watch my new Six Feet Under DVDs, it kept freezing and crashing. Many different DVDs were attempted, all with the same failures. *Sigh*. So I quietly began researching for a new TV online.

I wasn't looking for anything crazy - I don't need an HDTV, or a flat-panel plasma display - just a smallish tv for my room that will become a 2nd tv when I move out. Easy enough. Browsing through BestBuy.com, I found something that seemed to fit the bill. A Samsung SlimFit Flatscreen 27" Digital TV. It was a regular, old-timey CRT television, but it had a flat screen, and it wasn't as huge and bulky as a regular tube television. And it was priced within my budget.

I was determined to get the tv installed at my house on Friday night, so that when Erik came over on Saturday morning I could surprise him with it. I bribed my younger brother Matt into going with me to Best Buy to check it out, pick it up, and help me move it into my bedroom. We got to Best Buy and I found my way back to the aisle where it was. I found it very difficult to focus on the particular tv I was looking to purchase when a couple of really sweet looking widescreen HDTVs were displayed next to it. I even almost talked myself into spending an extra $300 to pickup a 30" 16:9 SlimFit-style HDTV, but I was a good girl. I bought the tv and Matt and I were off!

For a SlimFit television, the box it came in surely wasn't. Upon first eyeing the box, I was a bit worried that it wouldn't fit into the back of my MINI. But indeed it did, and after a bit of fussing with Matt about the proper direction of it, and a surely-comical display of us two weaklings trying to lift it into the back, we had it into the MINI, closed the hatch, and were headed home.

We got home after a few quick stops, and got the box into the house with the help of my surprisingly-helpful father. I opened up the top of the box and we started to lift it out when Matt noticed something odd about the tv. I walked around to the front and noticed the entire screen had been pushed into the set. This unit was very, very broken. I cursed, bothered by the work that lay ahead of us. I was determined to tape up the box, take it back to Best Buy, and get a replacement.

About an hour later, we had made the round trip and had the second tv in the family room, with only Matt and I left awake to unpackage it. This was quite difficult for the two of us to manage. But we did it, and we got the tv back into my bedroom, where it fit nicely on my existing tv stand. I quickly hooked up an old DVD player and chilled out to watch some more Six Feet Under.

It wasn't long before I noticed some strange stuff going on with the picture. During some of the darker scenes, I saw some horizontal lines fanning out from the sides of the screen. Plus, it seemed that the actors' heads seemed to get inexplicably wider when they were on the very right-hand side of the screen. This was not good at all.

I remembered reading some of the online reviews for the tv warning against an existing problem with a percentage of the units with this exact description. I had unwisely thought that my luck would be better, but alas, it wasn't. At this point I was beyond frustrated and was downright pissed off. So much work for Matt and myself, and I was left with a faulty television! Argh!

There was no question that I would return the tv, but at that point it was way too late. I spent the rest of what was left of my waking hours reading about the problem online... again, and looking at other tv's. At around 1pm on Saturday Erik swung by, and he was, indeed, pleasantly-surprised when he walked into my room and saw the glorious vision of a sleek new tv. I let him know immediately that I was going to return it, and showed him why. He could also see the problem, and agreed that it would need to be returned.

There was no rush, though, and we spent that afternoon and evening watching movies and playing WiiSports and designing tasteless Mii characters. Funnily-enough, the Wii looks just fine on the tv, with no noticeable distortion at all. Sometime this week I will be returning the bad, bad tv. I'm still wavering about whether to give it a third try, or to just get my money back and walk away from it altogether. I'm thinking it will probably be the latter. This whole experience has been far too troubling for what I'm ultimately getting out of it. I don't need a tv that desperately.

posted by julie at January 8, 2007 09:27 AM

things people have said

See you should have bought a Panasonic! :)

so said: Mike at January 8, 2007 02:13 PM

yes, mike, you're right. in fact, i've got my eye on a nice-looking panasonic 23" that I can get through the company at a hefty discount. we'll see what happens.

so said: julie at January 8, 2007 02:26 PM