July 29, 2013
HDTV on the cheap
One sure sign of technological change is how quickly the CRT has disappeared from consumer electronics showrooms. My old and once reliable JVC CRT television decided to join the race to extinction.
The vertical flyback circuitry or transformer was dying, squashing the picture to an inch tall. Super-wide screen! It failed when the set was cold and usually stabilized once it warmed up.
The warm-up period was taking long and longer. I finally resorted to never turning the TV off. But it was only a matter of time before the t variable in this limit function reached infinity.
On my budget, cheap was the priority. I've been watching letterbox on a 20 inch 4:3 screen for the past decade-plus, which comes to about 19 inches at 16:9. That makes a 22-inch HDTV big by comparison.
Walmart's cheapest 22-inch LED LCD is (was) the Seiki SE222FS. According to Gizmodo, Seiki is a Chinese OEM that other sources suggest co-manufactures with LG (LG remote codes do seem to work).
Seiki had already retired the model when I bought it. Walmart had it for the firesale price of $118. Online reviews gave it good marks for everything but the sound, not a deal-breaker for me.
Low expectations certainly help. What do you expect for a hundred bucks and change (refurbs for $20 less)? The entire shipping weight was 12 pounds! Moving that JVC around constituted an OSHA hazard.
My other dinosaur was a dead Panasonic VHS (another technology that went extinct almost overnight). It stopped working a year ago. I used it as a signal amplifier for the DTV converter box.
Blu-Ray players cost almost as much as the TV. An upgrade for another day. I agree with Forbes that the DVD isn't dead yet. Walmart sells a Sony upconverting HDMI DVD player (DVPSR510H) for $40.
It's a quarter the size of my previous DVD player and does a decent job upconverting to 720p (after I figured out the scads of settings; this time I actually had to read the manual).
Seiki first impressions
The last picture tube show