I want the BIG tv!

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What has happened to TVs lately? I’m not just talking about how flat they have become. That’s a pretty cool feature. Even though they are bigger, they take up less space in the room.

And boy are they bigger!

I remember growing up in the last household in Abilene, Texas, to get a color TV. Now, my family liked TV. Don’t get the idea that we were one of those families who only had one to be turned on in the event of an emergency (like an impending tornado) or Dallas Cowboys games. We enjoyed watching TV, often doing it as a family.

But one year my sister and her husband moved in with us for about a month. I don’t remember all the circumstances of that, except that they were on their way to Dallas. They eventually wound up in Garland and got good jobs and all that. As a present to thank my parents for letting them crowd the house for a month, they bought us a 19 inch color TV. The first show we watched on it? “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

After that, we were hooked on the color bandwagon. By the time I was in high school, I even had a TV in my room. OK, so it was a 14 inch black and white, but it was a TV and I had—while my parents weren’t home—managed to run the TV cable into my room. (Yes, before my sister’s gift we had cable TV run to a black and white set.) Never mind that it meant two windows no longer closed all the way, I had CABLE!

I don’t remember how long I stuck with the 14 inch B&W, but in 9th grade I saved up my money and bought an “Intellivision” gaming system, which was to today’s gaming system what the modern car is to a hay wagon, or, possibly, walking. To play the games, though, I needed a color set. So I wouldn’t have to keep disconnecting stuff in the living room, my parents split the cost of a 14 inch color TV for my room (sometime about tenth grade). I was in hog heaven! Not only could I play my games in the privacy of my own room (“Keep that door open!!”), I could also stay up late and watch reruns of Carol Burnett. Imagine my surprise to find that she had red hair!

When my wife and I got married, I was working at Sears and was able to purchase a 19 inch color TV (didn’t even look at the black and white ones!) and a VCR for a good price (it seemed at the time). And then, years later, when that TV went out, we sprung for the 26 in model.

Size-wise, I was a little tempted by the giant “projection” TVs that were popular in the 90s. Remember those? Big 50+ inch screens that only provided a good picture if you sat exactly in front of it and far enough away that it was reduced—in your mind—to the same size as a 14 incher? Those weren’t TVs, they were practical jokes foisted upon us by the TV manufacturers. I bet if you had taken one apart you would have found a 14 inch Zenith inside and a “screen” made from an old two-way funhouse mirror.

Now, we have a 19 inch TV—which used to seem like the pinnacle of the TV world to me—in the bedroom and it seems way smaller than that old 14 incher (which still works, BTW, if you want to buy it). And in the living room we have a 42 inch TV that provides me with a better picture on DVDs than I ever got when I saw the show in a movie theater. I couldn’t imagine needing or wanting a bigger TV … until my friend got a 60 inch TV.

And Best Buy has a 108 inch TV. Never mind that I don’t have a wall that big in my house, I’m just going to have to get a bigger one. House, that is.