Consumer Blues

The bad part about being a compulsive early adopter is, you know it’s going to be expensive and you can be pretty sure you’re going to get screwed. The good part is, hey, toys. Or at least that’s what happened when we moved to Blu-Ray almost as soon as it was available. The Samsung player (the only one available at the time) pretty much sucked, with load times best measured in Popes, and a stubborn refusal to play any discs which had ever even shared a room with some dust in it. And I forgot to buy the Clean Room Service Plan.


But we didn’t expect the new TV to suck, too.

Bleeding edge enthusiasts will understand: you can’t just up and buy a 1080P player without a 1080P television to show you all your glorious pixels. At early-adopter prices, half the pixels is, well, about 50% too few. So we picked up a Mitsubishi DLP set with a 1080P picture. And there were 2,073,600 pixels on every frame, and they were good.

Then the set died. “Known issue,” said the chat boards. Mitsubishi had put in a bad thermostat, which would eventually register a billion degrees inside the set, even, I think, when it was off. And sitting under the Titanic. No problem — Mitsubishi had extended the warrantee to cover it, so it was fixed at no cost to us.

Then the projector bulb died well ahead of schedule. “Known issue,” said the chat boards, “and there’s nothing you can do about it but pony up the money for a new bulb.” Fine. They don’t call it the bleeding edge for nothing.

Last night, the set switched itself off again, and refused to come back on. During the warm-up cycle, the screen was black, black — not the dark grey “black” of a set with any light hitting the screen. Made a note to shop for bulbs in the morning, then went to bed.

Pulled the bulb out this morning, and it was just fine. Clean and shiny and the filament appeared intact. Found the closest Licensed & Registered & Mitsubishi Approved to Use You As a Personal ATM Machine Repair Office and talked to the nice lady who told me they could get somebody here on Friday. But she added that it sounded like a logic board or the power supply or maybe the thromdibulator, and that none of that was covered under the thermostat extension.


Oh, and who knows if they’ll actually have the right parts available.

Here’s where it gets tricky. We only have two TVs in the house, and I spend about six hours on Sundays monopolizing one of them, watching all of the weekend talking head chat shows to pick out material for PJTV’s “Hair of the Dog” (free, no registration). This Sunday, Melissa is cooking up a huge dinner — one of those all-day-in-the-kitchen affairs. And a three-year-old lacking distractions will become a much worse one himself — for Melissa in the kitchen or me with the working TV, or most likely, both. In other words, we need a second, working TV in here before Sunday.

Fine. We’d been planning on moving the Mitsubishi downstairs now that the basement is mostly finished, and replacing it in the living room with a smaller, more discrete model. No big deal doing it a couple months early. Except for the emergency rush situation — ever tried to schedule a TV delivery for the next day?

After seven phone calls and three stores, we’ve got a replacement coming tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, same time the Covad guys are supposed to be here to install the T1 line. While I’m also supposed to be preparing for and recording Saturday’s PJM Political show. And picking out material for Friday’s Week in Blogs segment for PJTV. Plus, the usual showering, shaving, getting the kid up and off to school, etc.


I might not make it all the way to Sunday. So if anyone at my wake starts making any Bob Schieffer jokes, I’ll haunt your ass.


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