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Good Enough Technology: My New $30 TV

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 14, 2008

It so happened that my rather old TV decided to die on the second day of the Olympics, the one sports event my wife cannot do without. So I had to find a new one pronto. But once I looked at prices for flat-panel TVs—at least $600 to $800 even for the relatively tiny 26-inch models that are the only ones that will fit in our built-in cabinet—I decided maybe we could live with a traditional tube model for awhile longer. The thing is, I couldn’t bring myself to buy a brand-new CRT TV—I mean, carting one of those out of a Best Buy store would be downright embarrassing, if they even still sell them.

So instead, I decided to pay a visit to my local Goodwill. Sure enough, there were plenty of CRT TVs. And there on the linoleum floor was a very nice Sony Trinitron from 2002, for just $29.99. Sold!

And you know what? The picture quality is a whole lot better than my old one, with an extra inch of screen size to boot. Oh, I’ve seen those delicious HDTVs, and yes, I’d love to have one. But right now, I’d rather have the extra $770. Easy decision for someone who’s working in an imploding industry during an economic downturn.

The thing is, technology advances so quickly these days that even the old stuff is pretty darn good to someone like me who, despite writing about the latest technology, tends not to like being a guinea pig beta tester for tech companies that consider obsolescence a feature, not a bug. At least not on my own dime. Somehow, I don’t think I’m alone, and I think that doesn’t bode well for consumer electronics manufacturers.

Reader Comments


August 15, 2008 9:08 AM

I can't watch programming that is in Standard Definition. Call me spoiled, but it's HD or nothing for me - especially for sports.

For less than $300, you could get an HD card/USB stick for your PC or Mac and get a 19" monitor -- HD at 19" is way better than 30" SD.


August 19, 2008 8:29 AM

Nothing wrong with CRTs; and the image quality of digital - I believe - can be highly overrated, with the annoying blocking effects that seem to be a standard part of the equation. Plus; you won't be losing any pixels anytime soon...

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