It wasn’t long ago that I would stir myself into a tizzy about an upcoming theatrical release and subsequently organize an outing with friends to the local theater. Now, I struggle to find my way more than a few times a year. One could blame it on ticket prices, recent movie quality, or the a a a a a alcohol, yet I think a simpler explanation exists: The improvement of my own home theater.
It all started in July of 2009 when I decided to take a side job working a fireworks tent along a busy road in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. Money was tight at the time, apparently weddings are expensive (who knew), and my fiancee had made it clear that there was no budget she couldn’t run circles around. We were moving into new digs in August and there was no way the dinky 27’’ I bought for $400 in 1999 was gonna cut it. I needed an upgrade.
Being a geek at heart can be great. I always know the inside scoop on all new gadgets, can lay the smack down to a nine year-old in Halo, and build my own computer to stave off boredom. Unfortunately, it also makes me a bit of a snob when it comes to things like TVs. When I started looking, I quickly realized I needed a serious influx of cash to get a TV I wouldn’t look at in shame. In my mind, two weeks of fast food, infrequent showers, and sleeping in the back seat of a car was a small price to pay for a TV I’d enjoy for the next five to ten years. So when the opportunity arose to hawk fireworks for two grand over two weeks, I jumped.
Once the last firework was sold (and I had enjoyed a hot shower), I happily marched into Best Buy and emptied my wallet before the salesman had any idea what was going on. I think he felt used: I didn’t even let him trot me up and down the isle, just prodded him to the counter, helped him put in the order, and walked out of his life forever.
So what did I get?
Samsung LN 52B750
2ms Response Time
150,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio
LCD 1920 x 1080
16:9 Aspect Ratio
The B750 was the top of the line LCD at the time, and still compares fairly well with the LEDs popular today. More importantly, it’s the first high quality big screen I’ve ever purchased, and I was tickled pink to tuck it snugly into it’s corner. Since the TV itself doesn’t do a whole lot of good without a DVD / Blu Ray player (and since I blew all my dough to get it), everyone was instructed that all Christmas presents were strictly required to be in the form of Best Buy gift cards (my mom still managed to slip in a sweater). Shortly after the holiday, a 120GB PS3 Slim found it’s way into my living room, and my system was ready for use.
It’s odd to think about, but of the 158 DVDs I own, I feel confident saying I’ve watched significantly less than half. It used to be that I’d go to the theater and would love certain movies so much that I had to own them once available on DVD. Watching it wasn’t as important, it was the comfort of knowing if and when I did want to watch it, I could. Now that I have my TV I don’t do that anymore, rather, I abstain from theaters, blind buy the Blu Ray, and watch it at home. It’s cheaper, and the picture is better. Sure, the experience is lacking, but the convenience helps fill the void.
I’m certain I’ll find myself staying home even more often once I finally add a surround sound system later this year. Once that’s done, it still won’t feel like the movies, but it’ll be about as close as I can get from the comfort of my own couch. The gears are also slowly turning toward adding a Netflix instant stream subscription and hooking it up through my PS3. Don’t ask me why I haven’t already (hint: I’m cheap!). Sure, the wedding’s done and paid for, but now there’s a house on the horizon (if it isn’t one thing it’s another) and I haven’t been able to convince myself of the need. I do get HBO and Encore, so while it’s not quite the same selection, it’s manageable. If I want to go all out, I could add a Hulu subscription too and drop the DVR I seldom use.
So that’s what I’m rocking. Nothing too crazy, but it works for me, and I’m happy with it. What about you guys? Do you have a similar system, and if so, have you noticed yourselves opting to stay in more? I can’t be the only one … right … ?