TV Technology Blues
by Solomon Philbrick
After class last night, I went out in search of a good and affordable HDTV, which thankfully I could not find. The choice was between an inexpensive twenty-seven inch and an expensive thirty-two inch, and those five inches change whether or not the television is at all desirable. Feel free to make penis jokes here. Not wanting to leave the store empty-handed I walked away with Elder Scrolls: Oblivion instead and returned home to play it on my rapidly aging tube set. Perhaps I’ll write about the game at another time, but so far I’ve only put about an hour into it, so there really is not much to say. I’m getting my ass kicked by a bunch of unruly skeletons with maces and battle axes, and since I know very little about the world of role-playing games I don’t know how to increase my character’s mojo and today, well, today I’m supposed to be reading Roxana and writing this column, so this game will take some time.
The radio, of course, tormented me all the way home from the entertainment superstore. I flipped through the six preset stations, all of which were advertising “Local sports station, now in HD!” and “Local news, now in HD!” and “Radio, now in HD!” Taunting me, I tell you. Every ad was a thinly veiled insult: “Hey loser, why do you have a TV with a tube? What kind of space age bachelor are you? Why would you buy an Xbox 360 just to play it on a wind-up toy?” Pity me folks, I’m a wretch. No sex life, reading Roxana and The Faerie Queene and playing high-end games on a TV with a tube. Those people in third-world countries think that they have it bad. What do they know? They’ve never even seen high definition television.
If there is anything I can say in defense of my low-definition TV, though, it is that low-definition is also low-maintenance. When I brought the thing home, the only thing I had to do to make it work was plug it into the wall. This morning, with my head slightly cooled, I started doing some research and found out just what a pain in the ass our brave new world is becoming. Apparently, a television is no longer simply a television, just as the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 are not simply video game consoles. It seems that high-definition is some sort of way of life, and it is no longer good enough that the TV just does its job. Plugging in one of these new-fangled televisions now requires a bunch of external junk that when added on to the initial price makes the whole thing ridiculously impractical for someone living on my nonexistent budget. Just as the Xbox 360 is some sort of media center with all kinds of expensive things I can add to it to make it file my taxes and do my laundry, HDTV is something that could easily take over my entire apartment. This is the problem with upgrades in technology. One would think that aside from making something that already exists cooler, it should also be easier to use. Instead, technology just becomes more and more complicated. Aside from price, until this new technology can be as easy to use as the old technology and improve upon the quality, I’m sticking with my boring old LDTV, even if it doesn’t look as cool when I’m eviscerating zombies.