Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Big Picture

It seems like everyone I know has bought a big LCD TV recently. And when I say "everyone I know," I'm really only talking about three people, or actually four people, or to be completely accurate, four people and three TVs.

Anyway, I naturally decided that I should get one too. So I did a little looking online, just to see what was available, and I saw something I kind of liked.

But my next thought was, if I'm going to buy a high-definition TV, I should probably buy a 5.1 or maybe even 7.1 A/V Receiver to replace my old stereo. I found one that I liked, and it costs more than the TV, but I don't really mind, because you only have to pay for it once but you can enjoy it over and over again. Of course, with a new receiver, I'd have to replace my two stereo speakers with between six and eight new speakers as well. I didn't even look to see what those would cost.

I should tell you right off the bat that there's nothing wrong with my old stereo system. The electronics are NAD separates and the speakers are KEFs. At the time I bought them, they were probably state of the art for mid-range high-end audio equipment. But at the time I bought them, it was also the late '80s and everything back then was analog, except for CD players, and everything had only two channels.

So one of the questions that popped into my head was, if I put together a new home theater system, what will I do with the perfectly good stereo system I have? I can't put it in another room, because just about all of my other rooms already have stereos in them. I can't donate them to charity because they're too good for that. And I probably can't sell them or give them away, because they take up a lot of space, and most people today want compact little stereos.

But the next thought that popped into my head was, even if I did replace the old stuff with all new stuff, where would I put all those speakers? Fitting speakers for a 5.1 audio system in a room that used to have only two speakers can be a challenge. And I know I could get one of those all-in-one speaker things at instead, but I wouldn't even be able to put that anywhere without rearranging some furniture.

As a matter of fact, I think I'd probably need new furniture. I wouldn't have to replace everything in the room -- just the two pieces I use for all the existing audio and video equipment. And I don't know what to do about that, because most of the furniture you can buy today is ugly, and it would clash with all of the non-ugly furniture I currently have in that room. If I looked hard enough, I could probably find something I liked, but it would cost a lot. I only know of one furniture store near me that sells modern furniture, but everything they sell is expensive.

But even if I could find and afford new furniture that I liked, I still don't know how I could arrange it in my house. And that led me to realize that if I wanted to do things right, I'd have to buy a new house. And that is just beyond my budget at the moment, so I might end up not buying anything for a while.

After all, my existing TV works fine, the stereo sounds great, the furniture looks good, and even though there are things I don't like about the house, I don't feel like going through the hassle of moving. So there's really no need for me to buy anything, since I know those things won't improve my life or make me happier. That's the unfulfilled promise of mindless consumerism, of course -- that if you buy something you don't really need, it will improve your life somehow. Most people know it never does, and yet most people go right on buying things they don't really need. Fortunately for me, I'm not one of them.

But as opposed as I am to mindless consumerism in all its many forms, sometimes I fall victim to it anyway. So I'll probably end up buying a big high-def LCD TV sometime in the near future.

I'm going to hold off on all the other stuff for now, though. So maybe I'll buy a new house next year.