A small localized earthquake

We watched a movie for Father’s Day, and during a scene that was mostly sky, I noticed a mark on the screen. I went up close to get it off only to realize it was part of the glass: a crack.

After the movie ended, I took about five minutes examining the rest of the screen to determine that yes, that was a crack, and yes, there were two more. All in one arc from lower left corner up toward the right, none bad enough to have shattered the screen.

I would have loved to do a Prisoner’s Dilemma on the kids, but Kiddo4 is too young to weigh the various options. And besides, you can usually get him to rat out his siblings without too much trouble. You can usually get him to rat out himself without too much trouble, to be clear. In fact, sometimes he rats out me (not that I’m bitter) but the point is, we’d probably get answers.

Me: Which one of you whacked something into the TV screen? Maybe while you were playing sword-fighting and watching your reflection?

All of them: Oh, no! Nothing has hit the TV screen! Ever!

The only logical explanation, you see, is that our TV was a victim of a small, localized earthquake that took place directly underneath, yet shook none of the items on the surrounding shelves.

And then the ratting-out:

Kiddo4: Oh, I know where the crack is.

(He went right to one I hadn’t found even after five minutes of scrutinizing the set from all angles, just so you know.)

There’s nothing for it: we’re replacing the TV before those cracks start migrating. But this leads to an interesting find. Neither my Patient Husband nor I has ever purchased a TV. I got my first 13-incher as a HS graduation gift from my father. We got a 17-incher from my grandmother when she upgraded to a 27-inch TV, and after she passed away, we inherited that one. And so after 17 years of marriage, my Patient Husband and I have been flung headlong into new territory.

He texted his brother, who knows everything about TVs, movies, DVD players, BluRay, etc, and said, “Any suggestions?” He gets back a text, “Something HUGE!” Not helpful.

An unofficial poll on my parenting group has shown two things: first, that you can immediately start a lively discussion by asking Americans what brand of TV they prefer, and second, that many people believe all the brands are pretty much the same.

I passed through the TV aisle at BJs, and in the size we want, there are seven choices, all different brands, and all within fifty dollars of each other. The advice I’ve gotten so far is to choose the picture I like best, make sure it doesn’t make a humming sound, and buy Samsung. Possibly all three. Anything else?


  1. Jen Nolan

    There are two of the off-brands that have their components made by RCA and Samsung. One is Sceptre (sold at Walmart), and I forget the other one. Those might be worth looking into (I got my 40″ thru Walmart online with free ship-to-store for a good price). Only problem I’ve had with that brand is that my Harmony remote (hey, I got a gift card from work, so I applied it towards “SOMETHING I WILL NEVER BUY MYSELF” – a remote that would confuse Ozzy!) doesn’t work so well with it.

  2. diinzumo

    If you have cable or satellite or one of those newfangled antennas, a ginormous CRT TV can be had for a song. I have a 36-inch monster set that I got for $40 on Craigslist, and a 32-inch one of my brothers left behind after a move. Both are top of the line Sony TVs – they’re just not flat screens. The only drawback to TVs of this type is they’re extremely heavy.

  3. Marie

    My personal criteria
    1) one that you can control without remotes as much as possible. We have 2 vizios, and each have buttons on the back on the side for power on , switching between TV, AV, comp [and other inputs I don’t know what they are], volume up, volume down plus 3 other buttons I haven’t used. Remotes vanish.

    2) One light enough to not kill a child if it is knocked/pulled over – my husband wanted to replace the small [screen size] analog TV in the computer room because the display was so bad compared to the monitors. I wanted to replace it because it was thick and heavy and balanced on top a VCR (yes because videotapes are almost indestructible – do you know what happens when a toddler carries a DVD in her teeth?) on top a bookcase

    3) lots of inputs – we have a 4 components plugged into the main tv and 2 into the computer room tv. I have friend with more than that in their TV.

    3) same brand as any other young tv in the house. They might be able to share remotes, you only need to remember one order of buttons, the settings/menus are the same. I have enough to keep track of – which TV works which way shouldn’t be on my list. After we replaced the little one dh, of course, wanted to replace the big one too. I wanted same brand if possible and small enough to still fit on our TV stand.

    Notice what isn’t on my list – picture and sound. I figured anything currently on the market would be better than the 15 year old, 13″ analog TV that got the main use in our house : ) It’s not like I’d watch it other than family movie night anyway. Dh did the research on that and liked the Vizios.

    I’ve got a 27″ analog TV that weighs the same as a medium sized child in my basement in Ten Miles Away – free to good home. Comes with remote. Spring on power button is damaged – power button is diagonal in its slot, but still works.

  4. Cherilyn Reno

    We love our Sony Bravia (brand matching with the audio equipment we already had) but they were the most expensive brand on the market when we bought it. It has some, but not all of the buttons Marie’s TVs have. It sits on a dedicated table and we used the provided tethering systems to fasten it both down and to the wall behind it to prevent tipping.

  5. Ken Rolph

    We recently bought a Sony, which I think is a Bravia. It’s big and thin. You can get a bracket with it that screws it to the cabinet it sits on, so the kids can’t pull it over. Its only draw back seems to be a reverberating hum when deeper sounds are played at loud volume. Since we live near a major intersection this is sometimes necessary.

    Down the left side are a row of connectors for various devices. The kids love to come and plug in their cameras and phones to show the latest pictures and movies of the grandchildren. I don’t have the heart to tell them that they have re-invented the slide night.

  6. Bopper

    I got a small HDTV at Costco because of the price, but the sound was very tinny. Take sound into consideration, not just the picture quality.

  7. cricketB

    The thin screens tend to be tippy. Easily fixed, unless the wall behind it has a pocket door and no convenient studs. Our heavy antique credenza now has holes in the top — and a firmly-attached TV.

    Don’t get too large for the room. It will be like sitting too close at a movie theater.

    Learn what the numbers mean. Manufacturers brag about the ones they can cheaply make sound impressive, and ignore the ones that are expensive for them to improve but should matter to the consumer.

    Most brands have several models with only tiny differences in the model number. That little “i” in the cheap Sony at the grocery store? $200 difference in the hardware. Yamaha instruments, the little letter means “Bought at Walmart. Only differences between this and similar at music store: Price. Manufacturer Warranty.”

    I’m lucky. OneBitCPU did all the work for us. He cares about his video games — but doesn’t drink or smoke and knows how to keep to a budget.