It was time. The old Sharp was starting to turn grey around the edges, literally. A narrow band of dull white was showing up at the bottom and top of the screen. One repair in its long, reliable life was almost what a new TV would have cost. So goes the progress of technology and especially television sets.
I've learned to shop for a while before I take my money to a store for electronics. I knew I couldn't have a plasma ( the altitude where I live will make them fail almost over night ). I knew the higher the contrast ratio ( mumbo-jumbo that means how black are the blacks and how white are the whites ) the better I'd see the picture. At my age, that counts for a lot.
I knew how big it needed to be for the living room. Now all I had to do was brave the salesmen. Sigh. So off to the Best Buy I went and took my notebook. There it was, a floor model that was three hundred dollars off! I grabbed it and took it home and called the cable guy to hook it all up. It didn't work. The cable was fine, the remote was fine, but the TV simply wouldn't work.
So back to the store I went, and just as sure as the sun rises in the east, all the sale units were gone. Since Best Buy charges an enormous re-stocking fee ( something I will take into account if I ever shop there again ) I was stuck with what they had. Ah, well. The sale price was something I hadn't planned on any way.
Side by side, the Toshiba won, just for picture clarity alone. The clean, shiny black frame was a bonus. I don't think TV's are works of art that deserve wall space, especially when they are not turned on. So mine is in a cabinet that closes up. I was building the cabinet around the TV, so the required space above, to the sides and behind was important.
The Regza weighs more than the latest models. It's best to have two grown men handle the thing when you put it up. But saying that, it was about 200 pounds lighter than the old Sharp ( the old joke says they are shipped here with a dead body in each one ) and was thin, flat and very good looking. It sensed the cable and hookups the first time, the screen came to life and it hasn't needed a thing in two years except occasional dusting. Clear, crisp images come from TV broadcasts, and vivid colors even pop out of old VHS tapes I can't bring myself to toss out. The base is stable and discreet. That also means something in shaky California. Wall brackets are extra, and in my world, not needed.
Sharp, Sony, Panasonic and Toshiba have always been my name brands of choice in electronics and sound equipment. Looks like I have no reason to look further for a while.