Showing posts with label home electronics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home electronics. Show all posts

Saturday, July 3, 2010

You don't know what you got till it's gone

My old TV was a Westinghouse 32" SK-32H240S. I didn't think this was a very fancy TV at the time I bought it, I mean for one thing it was a Westinghouse, I didn't even know Westinghouse made TV's. It was on sale though and I wanted to upgrade from my old school 19" standard def TV to something more modern.

I had the TV for about 3 years before the Audio output (that I had my speakers hooked up to) decided to quit working. Taking advantage of the 4 year service plan I had paid for when I bought the TV at Best Buy, I brought the TV in and they sent it out for service.

In addition to the audio problem, the screen had developed a small shadow on the top center and because of the cost to fix this being more than the cost of allowing me to just get a new TV of comparable value, Best Buy decided not to fix it and gave me a credit. Initially I thought I would get credited the full amount of my original purchase. Visions of a magnificent new TV danced through my head as I envisioned what $600 might buy me today. This was not the case however and had I actually bothered to read the service agreement I would have seen that I would only get credit for a TV with "comparable" features currently on the market. The comparable TV was about $330. No problem, I wasn't looking to get a bigger TV anyway, just upgrade from 720p to 1080p ... not that I would be likely to notice the difference. The salesman at Best Buy showed me my options, I picked one that looked like it would fit my needs, paid the difference and brought it home.

The thing you need to know about my old TV before I continue is that it had a lot of inputs: 2 component, 2 HDMI, 1 VGA, 2 RCA, and it had RCA audio out with volume that was controlled through the set and thus not requiring external management. For someone using an extra set of PC speakers (because I'm cheap like that and my hearing's so shot I can't tell the different anyway) this was an ideal set up. I didn't know until I brought home my new TV that this was apparently not the norm.

First off the new TV hardly had any inputs. Ok, it had 4 HDMI ports, which is great except I only have one device connected via HDMI and that's my cable box. It only had one component input; also fine because my only component device is my Xbox 360, but for the sake of argument let's call this strike 1. It did not however have an RCA input. Actually that's a lie, it did, but it shared audio input with the component, so technically it didn't have a "dedicated" RCA input. This was a problem because if I wanted to use my Wii or PS2 I would need to disconnect my 360 and plug them in manually. Strike 2. Upon plugging in my speakers and changing the audio setting to "external" I learned that I could not (unlike my previous TV) control the volume of the audio output jack by adjusting the set volume, meaning I would have to manually go up to the speakers and adjust the volume instead of using a remote. Strike 3.

Obviously the TV needed to go back and I needed to get something closer to what my old set was capable of, so today I went back with the lackluster set in tow and exchanged it for the original "comparable" set, the one that was only 720p (not that I can tell the difference). I checked this set out extensively before exchanging. I was specifically looking at the menu options to see if there was any external/internal speaker switch and if so, could I not alter the volume in external mode. There wasn't such a feature, so I figured I was all set. Add to all this the fact that all of the other 32" sets had a remarkable lack of inputs and in some cases a lack of external audio output, and I really had no option.

I get the new new set home and thankfully can plug ALL my devices into it without switchers or arcane rituals. I plug the speakers in and I have the same problem. Well not exactly the same, with this one I CAN alter the volume when an external device is present, it just doesn't alter the volume of the external device. What the what?!

I'm not going to bring this one back, with the exception of the external speaker thing, this IS my old set and all I had to pay for was a new 4 year service plan. I'm going to have to make do with manual speakers I guess. It's not a huge deal since I don't often have to change the volume once I start watching something and technically if I wasn't a cheap bastard with my speakers I'd probably have a receiver with a remote to handle all this anyway and likely will in the future. Still, I never thought of my old TV as being "advanced" and maybe (technically) it wasn't, but for me it was perfect and I kinda miss it.