Technology

Left Coast Bias: A Standard-Def Holdout Goes HD

B&C's editor-in-chief breaks down, gets a high-definition TV and learns that the Yankees still stink in HD. 4/18/2009 02:00:00 AM Eastern

There is a good chance this will be my last column, being as it's hard to file from a jail cell, much less six feet underground.

The wife, you see, informed me late last week that the in-laws were coming the next day to stay with us for a while. I quelled my first instinct to kill myself or someone else, but I can't assure you that by the time you're reading this, my resolve will have held.

Since this could be our last time together, I feel comfortable revealing yet another embarrassing thing about my life, a life once so full of promise but recently ravaged by middle age, two young kids and even more gruesome, a career in journalism.

OK, here it goes: Only last week did I finally get an HD television. No, I'm serious.

I held out for as long as I could for several reasons. OK, that's a lie. It was for one reason: I am famously cheap.

But the deciding moment finally came when I was watching The Masters on my decrepit TV and a commercial came on featuring Pam Anderson. At least it looked like Pam on my television. I saw the same commercial later on another TV and realized it was Phil Mickelson. Certain similarities aside, it was time to get a new TV.

First, I jumped online to price out what I wanted. Then I went to an actual store, because for some reason dropping big coin at www.kevin'sbigtvsandtattooparlor.ca just didn't seem safe, regardless of the enticing price.

So I went into a big retailer, armed with both the online prices and intel that the sticker prices there were very negotiable. I walked up to two salesmen and was basically treated like I was when I used to approach popular girls—OK, any girls—back in high school. They pretended not to see me.

I practically had to tackle one of them before he finally helped out. We picked out the stuff I wanted, and then the bargaining began. I think I bought my last car in less time. Heck, I think the Disney-Hulu deal got settled quicker.

After several hours, he got to my number, so we set up a delivery time for the next day between 8 and 12. Then I called DirecTV and scheduled them to come right after, between 12 and 4. Perfect plan. Who says scheduling in TV is dead?

Of course, the next morning at 11:45 I still had no TV. I called the retailer and they assured me it would be on time—between 12 and 4, as they had on the schedule.

Time for another embarrassing revelation—I maybe, possibly, might have, kind of, dropped a big f-bomb on the guy when he told me that. But it's not on tape.

The happy ending is, by the end of the day, I was jacked into the HD matrix. From that place, I quickly learned a couple of things. First, and most thankfully, the Yankees still stink in HD. Second, Giada is incredible in HD. I mean her cooking, of course.

I've heard people say they won't watch things that aren't in HD and thought they were silly. Yeah, they were all correct. And if you are weighing whether or not to spend the extra bucks to make one of your shows in HD, do it tomorrow. When I flip through the guide now, if that “HD” isn't next to the title, I don't even see it.

Kind of like those salesmen. Or Phil Mickelson on my old TV.

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ben.grossman@reedbusiness.com

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