Grandpa Webb's blog

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The thin blue line

Who is this Grandpa Webb?Our TV has just grown a bright blue line that runs from the top to the bottom of its flat screen. It is guaranteed for five years (the TV – not the blue line) but after a look in the receipts box (grandma is good at keeping receipts), it turns out that it has just turned six.

The local TV repair man had heard of the problem before. “The screen’s gone,” he said. “What is it, 40 inch? We could put in a new one. Including labour it’ll probably cost about £350. On the other hand, you can get a new set for under £500”.

Next day grandma is looking at beds in John Lewis. I drift to the TV department where a salesman asks if I need any help. This is a first. Normally you have to take a ticket and wait until your number is called before a TV salesperson will speak to you.

We get talking about the days when black-and-white TVs were switched on and off by a knob on the front and had knobs labelled ‘brightness’, ‘contrast’, and ‘frame hold’ at the back. Twiddle the contrast too much and the picture would roll up or down the screen; it could only be centred again by skilful adjustment of the frame hold – a task reserved for my father. 

You can't hide that line with botox.The salesman says he has smart TVs that respond to voice commands (what happens if you sneeze - do they explode?). There are internet wi-fi sets with and without the need for a dongle (don’t ask), TVs you can use as a video phone, 3D TVs and lots more. What I really want, I say, is a TV that can record stuff and is worked by a single remote control. The salesman begins to lose interest. “Do have a look around,” he says and drifts away. I bet he makes me get a ticket next time.

Anyway, I think the blue line doesn’t look too bad. Bit of a conversation piece in fact. It can stay for a while longer.

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