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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

No groove in this tube

After 12 or 13 years, our Sony TV has died. It was acting strangely yesterday, its picture tube flickering and quivering, then making occasional popping noises, then finally smelling as if it were about to melt, or worse. We turned it off, then thought for a minute and unplugged it. It's over.

Now not only do we need a new TV, but we also need help getting rid of the old one. The thing weighs a ton; it took two hardy men to get it up the stairs to the den years ago. And surely Metro will get its pound of flesh to inter it. We wish we could take it apart and get rid of it in pieces, but part of it's probably radioactive.

And so now we enter that phase in which we'll take advice on the new purchase that's just around the corner. What to buy, where to buy it, how to bargain (if that's even possible) -- it's all on our front burner.

When we bought the Sony, the brand name had a certain allure. But the thing went on the blink fairly early on in its life. As we recall, some major tinkering had to be done with it, although we dimly recall it being covered by warranty. And so now we're a bit skeptical about the reputations of brand names. But perhaps times have changed. Certainly the TV sets have. No doubt there'll be a furniture change as well, and at least a sawbuck more a month to the Comcast devils. Adventure awaits.

Comments (42)

What to buy: anything Costco sells. This has 2 distinct advantages; 1) they pre-select brandsand models for you, and 2) if anything goes wrong their return policy is fabulous! They also have an inexpensive insurance pkg. if you want. Size is a matter of what fits in the room - get the biggest the space can comfortably handle. My opinion.

The bigger question for people making the transition to flat screens is what to do with the old media cabinets. Lots of oak armoires on Craigslist.

Several years ago we put a broken CRT television at the curb. It disappeared almost instantly. Fortunately, new TV's are relatively light and easy to move--at least those using LCD display technology, as opposed to plasma. Buy the biggest one your space can accommodate. Choose a "smart" one that has a wireless receiver and software for internet connections to Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and the like. One day, you'll be able to cut the cable. We have had excellent luck with a Samsung purchased from Amazon on line, and a Vizio purchased in a brick-and-mortar Costco store. Consumer Reports is also useful for its testing and rating of TV receivers and for learning about refresh rates and other technology issues.

I second Nolo. Costco takes the guesswork outta the process. Don't waste your time or stress trying to bring someone down a few bucks and then not be able to return it once it goes kaput.
Call Costco ahead of time, see what models they have, look at the reviews online and make the purchase on a weekday when it's not such a zoo.

Agree with Nolo, we have purchased two Vizio sets from Costco in the past 3 years. I say dump the entertainment center and mount the biggest one you can fit and afford on the wall. With some fairly minor electrical work power can be added behind the unit and the wife will be pleased with the no-cord look.

If you can get the old beast out of the house into a vehicle, Goodwill has free recycling of all electronics here in Beaverton and likely elsewhere in the city.

In addition to the new flat screen TV Jack; you might also want to consider getting rid of Comcast and getting Direct TV. If you get the League Pass package, you get to see all the NBA games; and usually have the option of seeing the home team or visiting team broadcast package. We're in the Sacramento Kings broadcast area, and even get all their games; so I suspect it's the same in Portland for the Blazers.

The pros and cons of Plasma v. LCD/LED is something to consider. Despite the early negative publicity, Plasma has come a long way in recent years.

It's neighborhood cleanup season. Find one near your, fill up your car with junk, hand over $5-10 (depending on neighborhood), and be rid of it.

After several years of getting severely screwed on expensive purchases, I have put Sony and Maytag on my Do Not Buy list.

Dave A:

Jack doesn't strike me as a giant NBA fan, but the Blazers' deal with Comcast prohibits non-Comcast customers from receiving Blazer games, even with NBA League Pass. That might change when their contract expires somewhere around 2017.

Google "Blazers Comcast deal" for more.

I got a Sharp Aquus years ago and (knock wood) have not had a problem with it. I think it was at the Or You will be Sorry Store but I am sure most place have it...Costco is where we usually find a good deal. Of course it cost more than my first car did by quite a lot.

Wrong side of town but in Beaverton at the corner of Denny and 217 you can drop it off without any charge. They have free electronics recycling.

If your looking for maintaining an 'equivalent' image size for the new TV remember that since your old TV screen has a 4x3 image ratio (width x height) and the flatscreens are 16x9 that the diagional size measures are not comparable. You'll need to compare the hieight of your current picture tube to the height of the new flatscreen to get the same size image.

I work in the video biz and have been very impressed by the Vizio I purchased at Costco. Great picture- colors and contrast are sharp. Plus service from Costco way better tham most other retailers.

Costco for sure and we have Direct TV BUT if you need to watch the Blazers I guess you are stuck on the dark side (Comcast)
AS far as recycling thst monster- the place over on the other side of town sounds like the best deal....unless Metro can tell you where there are places like that nearer to you.
Good luck!

Free Geek on SE 10th recycles electronics, including TVs.

Jack, if you were closer, I'd take it off your hands myself. I've been having a lot of fun gutting old televisions and iMacs, sealing them up, fitting them with lights and new front glass, and converting them into plant displays. (They're usually a little too big to be called "terraria", and "Wardian cases" doesn't quite cover it.) Those old Sonys are remarkably easy to convert and seal up, and the jack in the front means that I can add extra goofy features like working speakers for an iPod and the like.

If you can get help carrying the TV to your car, there are several locations near you which collect computers and TVs for Oregon e-cycle. I do not think there is a fee involved. You can find more information at their website, which is through DEQ.

Imagine me reading this post with a big-old fashioned SONY not more than 15 feet away. My wife has the high-def flatscreen upstairs but I'm still chugging along in the past.
I guess you could call mine an early 3-D TV.

This is the second time in 24 hours that I felt the future closing in. I use a humble VCR deck to tape my jokes, sometimes rewinding the same place over and over, but eventually getting towards the end. I've been semi-hot lately, so just last night I was forced to hit the streets to buy more tapes, only to fine the store I've gotten them at for years no longer carries VCR tapes.

I think of all this stuff as format changes. It's like when the open range cowboys of the Old West first noticed more and more land had been fenced off from their lives. T.S. Eliot has the great line, "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons." I have measured out my life with format changes.

The good news is that high def TVs are stunning, although I still enjoy my old set, especially the way the local weather man disappears off to the side, telling me about the latest weather scare with only his ear showing.

However, if you buy a high-def flatscreen, and you probably won't have a choice, remember that many DVDs and movies on certain channels could come at you with parts of the screen darkened. It's called aspect ratios, but I just think of it as more format problems.

So just because the screen looks huge in the store, remember that you will not always be seeing a picture that uses the entire screen. That's it from here. Oh, and your decision to unplug your TV after it started smelling like it was about to melt? That was a good call. Sometimes pulling the plug on something is more than just an expression.

I second Costco for all the above mentioned reasons. We got one as our Christmas gift. The other advice is to spend the extra $50 to get the TV prewired for Netflix etc and to pick up your wireless signal at home. It takes care of a lot of the wires, but we still have an antenna package that will cost you another $60 unless you have cable. With the netflix and Amazon pay for view prewired we only have an internet bill and plenty to choose from to watch on TV and with the Ooma phone system we also purchased at Costco our phone and internet bill went from horrendous to a little under $50/mo for everything including the Netflix subscription.

How much was the set used? Our Sony (not our main TV) died a few years back. In fact your picture in the cabinet looks similar to our set up. I was all for getting a new flat screen. The husband opted to take a look at Craigslist and came home with a Daewoo for $30. The picture quality is not the same as our main TV. The set is coming up on 4 years in our household and we did not have to haul that bulky piece of wooden furniture out of the house.

In light of the economy and because we live in the City of Sustainability you might want to consider used.

Sorry this statement makes me want to grab my purse and head to Costco. Oh and our main TV is a ceiling mounted projecter with a screen large enough to make games truly lifelike.

For a purchase of this magnitude, it is worth the annual membership cost of $30 to consult Consumer Reports. You can access their reviews online. While I agree with others here that Costco is generally a good way to go, they don't always feature the "best deal", or "best in class". Granted, their liberal return policy is worth a lot.

Last I knew Goodwill will take donation of all manner of old electronic devices regardless of their condition. But you do have to manage to get it to one of their donation facilities.

Donyourself a favor. Take the dead TV to Metro. ... ... Then don't buy a replacement.

A concur with all the others about going to Costco. Great selection of good TV's at good prices and the warranty can't be beat. As for recycling the old TV, check out the below link for a location near you, and its free.

After many shopping adventures by many clients, including Costco, Video Only can't be beaten IMO.

Better selection of all brands and latest models, helpful staff and prices the same or better.

Nearly every time, over many years, that I send a client there they buy.
Many of which stopped by Costco but they didn't quite have the most current model or some other issue.

Keep in mind, TV's have a pretty limited lifespan nowadays. Getting one to go 5-6 years is considered "good," any more than that and your lucky.

The weakest link has always been the capacitors in the power supply. They are sensitive to heat cycles and wear out over time. Older tube style TV's had heavy duty capacitors with loose voltage tolerances and lots of room for heat to dissipate...so they lasted longer. Newer technology uses more delicate parts, made by the lowest Asian bidder, with components requiring tight voltage tolerances, and crammed into a tiny space. They just don't hold up anymore.

Plasma TVs also have the unique issue of going dark over time, even if you aren't using them, due to the chemical makeup of the tiny cells. The tech has come a long way...the power supply will usually go out long before you notice the screen darkening.

Go with Plasma.
Go big.
Go Video Only (my last 3 were from them)
My first 2 were Sony's and they did very well but the technology has changed.
My last was down to Samsung or Panasonic.
I went with Panasonic because I have had some other electronics from them and they had great performance. I think I would have been happy with Samsung.

You have already paid for access to the online Consumer Reports through your Multnomah County Library card. You can look at any of their issues from your home computer.

It's a little hard to find when navigating from the main library website so save this link in your bookmarks:
> hit the blue "begin using this resource" button > then type in your Multnomah County Libray card number (enter the 8 digits after 211680) and your password > now you are on the "EBSCO MasterFile Premier" search page.

In the top center search box, type in the item that you want to research (such as: Televisons)BUT BEFORE YOU HIT THE SEARCH BUTTON, go look down a few inches to the "Limit search" box and type in Consumer Reports. NOW hit search.

VOILA! Your results will have links to Consumer Reports articles on the subject. Click a link and on the next page in the left sidebar at the top you will see a .pdf of the actual magazine article which you can save off, print whatever.

I bought a new TV from Best Buy last month, free delivery and they haul away your old one for free

Cool collection of "video games," Jack.

I used to sell home electronics - my shirt even said TV Specialist - so if you need more help, let me know. My most recent TV purchase was a Panasonic Plasma. I love it.

Cool collection of "video games," Jack.

It's all cool until you draw Plumpy.

Goodwill will take the old CRT tvs

Bingo has the tip of the day. I had no idea CR was available on line from the library.

For what it's worth, I still have my 60's editions of Candy Land, Life and Monopoly! No Sequence, though.

More in line with the topic, our JVC started to fritz out about three months ago. It looks very much like your Sony! And it served us faithfully since 1997.

(Non tech alert): Something happened such that scan lines all created a center horizontal concentration. I figured the magnetic collar that directs the electrons must have gone whacky. So I resorted to my first line of action. I banged on the side. It worked! I found that by banging on it or pulling the cable mount, I could get the scan to stabilize until the set warmed up enough that it would behave! That worked for about two weeks until the problem got progressively worse. But it occurred to me at the time that this was probably the last opportunity I will ever have to impress my family with my electronic wizardry and skill when it comes to fixing the TV.

One cool aside. My young daughter showed me how you could rapidly nod your head up and down while looking toward the horizontal scan line concentration... and get a full picture in your head! More or less, anyway. I think she takes after me in the technical department.

I love board games. Some of my best memories from childhood are playing boardgames with my Dad after dinner.

When I started reliving my childhood on Ebay, I quickly acquired the American Heritage games I had when I was a kid. "Dogfight", "Broadside" and "Battle Cry". I already had "Risk" and "Stratego".

Take the television to any e-recycling place. Green Century on SW Macadam is one such place, any Salvation Army drop-off site is also valid.

You can call Metro's recycling hotline at 503-234-3000 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They will help you figure out how best to dispose of the old set.

Online resources about electronics recycling are here:


You also can use Metro's "find a recycler" tool online to find someone close to you. Point your browser to:


The Oregon eCycles site lets you search for a site to dispose of your TV at no cost to you. You can bring up to 7 TVs, computer monitors, etc.

You'll have to wait until January 2015 to dispose of your computer peripherals (keyboards, mice, printers) at these locations.

Best research on the planet. I have used these guys for everthing for about 12 or more years. The place is full of geeks and tons of unpaid advice from some very saavy folks. Highly recommend them. They also offer cash back programs if you connect through them to one of their partners. Please be sure to read their FAQ section because they do use some special terms at times.


and another similar site (and there are several others)


The whole blog gone TV shopping - LOL. But then anyone who is uncertain
whether or not TV's have "radioactive" parts, (and guesses the probability is they do),
needs all the help he can get.
[I do declare, the 'invention' of Atomic Power by 'splitting the atom,' circa 1948, that's when America lost it(self); since the 'ordinary' citizen could not 'do the math' with their own 'standard' education understanding. Same year as the transistor was 'discovered.'
[Here's an arbitrary example selected to prove you to yourself. There are two kinds of substance in the world -- conductors and insulators, right? Electricity flows through 'conductors' and cannot flow through 'insulators.' It's all On or Off, right? Okay, so what's a semi-conductor? Does electricity flow through it? Or not?]
[The transistor is a semiconductor]

So 'ordinary' citizens gave up the ghost, the spirit, of America, en masse. Individually giving up a sense of self sovereignty, (a sense of oneSelf as being necessary and sufficient for understanding worldly life), and collectively giving up a sense of sovereign America. Giving up in the few years between FDR's death and IKE's election -- giving up in self-expectation of understanding the changes -- between making The Bomb material and aiming (it?) America's purpose to obliviate The Socialism concept.

NOT understanding how wireless radio&TV reception worked; NOT understanding how splitting atoms worked (in its 'radioactivity' thing); NOT understanding 'plastics' (in a word); NOT understanding medical health benefits to the body, and vital spirit, from changing perception in everyone's personal mental psychology (by travel, broadening cultural awareness -- jet airplanes around the world, interstate hiways around the country; by programmed indoctrination in national TV broadcast and rock'n'roll records; by psychoactive hallucinogens such as sodium pentathol, mescaline, LSD, in human medical experiments going on; by contemplative meditation and yoga and jujitsu -- self 'feedback'); and (still) NOT understanding geometric progression, meaning compound interest, meaning icky math. These are the fundamental elements which all materialized in a halcyon 5-year quickening (1946-'51) and built up the surreality of the last 60 years' lifespans, and 'world,' in which we lived. If you call it living.

In it -- the quickening of another heart (of darkness?) overtaking America, and 'ordinary' citizens not understanding the language of it, losing pulse-touch of America, of 'traditional' democracy, then and since the life-force of all is lost, the spirit of all is lost. Given up and ceded over to priestly 'nerds' and 'gurus' and 'hackers' of hi-tech. Life in America (mis)governed under the direction of don't-get-involved, 's-not-my-job, leave-it-to-eager elites, the untouchables, figuring it out designing planned obsolescence with truths that 'ordinary' citizens can't handle ... just like IKE warned the world: Beware a Scientific-Technological Elite or they will steal democracy and our Republic of America, he said. (In the same speech IKE also warned something-or-other about military industry but it turns out the Scientific Technological Elite directs the military industry and everything else, holds the greater power and is the greater danger ... to unwitting citizens, mere 'civilians.' He also said, "Disarmament is a continuing imperative.")

Overlord rulers of America bombarding civilian life in a welter of format changes. Every new Model Year. 1st-World progress, toward a life of leisure and luxury.

'Til now what you see is what you get. And the personal perspicacity to extricate one's lifestyle from the TV-tube era and infiltrate the flat-screen surface society calls for a committee-sized blog-wide effort to convene, decide and accomplish.

I say use the postage-paid shipping box that came with your set to send the old Sony back to the manufacturer for recycling, (like HP's ink cartridges), and get your deposit back. (We bought our still-vivid Trinitron model in 1975 for $375 incl. its return postage, and a $125 deposit on top of that which we get back when the phosphorized tube fails to glow and goes returned for recycling. What? Wait. You didn't pay a refundable deposit on your manufactured item? Well, I guess you'll figure out to change that p.d.q. on your next foray in the Durable Goods sector of The Economy.)

I say buy a flat-screen a couple of years behind the leading edge of the technology, so a 'used' one like on CraigsList for 75% discount of its price new. And mount it removeable, so you can easily replace it in a couple of years with a 'used' 2013 model ... at ten cents on today's dollar.

If you inveterately buy new, only, and insist to pay full price, then my advice is boycott retailers Video Only and Standard TV & Appliance, since the money of your patronage in those places goes to sponsor LarsLarson ... and hate broadcasts.

And what swimmer said, I endorse: think to cancel your cable TV bill, first, then buy your big-screen as a display for internet contents. As tube-TV goes (into the scrap heap) so goes surreal America and cosmetic celebrity status.

It involves more than merely getting a new monitor on the world, Jack. It's a decision to enter your life in the new century. Same old format, that posterity hasn't changed: food, clothing, shelter, sociality.

P.S. Say, did you see the political Manifest news of the vastly-popular 5✭ Party, (TV predicted not) in meteoric suddeness winning in Italy's elections?

The 'Five Stars' of the movement are the party's core principles:

Publicly owned water
Sustainable transportation
Sustainable development
Free and open internet access

The big loser? Austerity.

As (news) not seen on TV, of course. Maybe there's something in that which America could use ... to get 'er groove back. ]

Jack, go to Video Only. Great service there. And my wife was able to haggle them down $150. We paid less than Amazon wanted for the TV we bought.
Avoid Best Buy. When my son worked there they were required to upsell very expensive cables and other items. And they purposely mess with the picture on display model TVs so make certain models look better.
Finally, don't believe what any salesman says about expensive HDMI cables. There is no difference between a $10 cable and a $30 one, other than price.

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