Nostalgic Rumblings
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To TV, or Not Two TVs…

Filed under: General, Television — Charlie Summers @ 3:27 pm

A while back, our living room rear-projector TV burned out a bulb; since the replacement bulb didn’t work, I’m assuming the bulb ballast board died, a non-trivial repair best left to a time when I’m not rushed dealing with other domestic and business stuff. So we’ve been watching on a largish 28″ tube set; at least when there’s electricity here at Chez Charlie. Until yesterday that is, when it started to flash on-and-off like some damaged neon sign.

No problem, thought I, and entered the black hole I laughingly refer to as a basement, arising with an old 19″ that has spent decades down there waiting for a time of need. As I turned it on and tuned it to the media player, I laughed with my daughter that if the screen sizes kept getting smaller, we’d soon be watching television on her netbook.

Laughing, that is, until a flutter, darkness, and the smell of ozone combined with burning insulation…

Anyone who knows me will know I first spit out a stream of expletives, and then started to figure out how I was going to accomplish the once-simple task of watching television without bringing up the last remaining set in the basement, an ancient 15″ black-and-white set given to me by my parents that hasn’t seen use since my first apartment so very long ago. First, I set up my wife’s wide-screen laptop, connected to the media player via SMB (Windows’ default networking) and instead of using it as a player used it as no more than a file server to the portable, added a set of external amplified speakers, and *poof* - we successfully watching a sitcom.

While we watched, I kept thinking about the parts in the basement and how I could use them. Back down, bringing up with me a wide-screen monitor that was replaced by a client - the screen was roughly the same size as the second now-deceased television, and larger than the built-in screen of the laptop. Connected and configured, television was now playing through the laptop to the screen. But without a remote control, to play a new show via VideoLan player I needed to get to get up and cross the bedroom…so I went into the living room to the computer that was used by my daughter before she got her laptop last Christmas from the guy in the red suit, pulled the wireless mouse and controller from the box, plugged it into Annie’s laptop, and moused from the comfort of the bed.

Ok, ok, so I’m in the market for a television set, and will start today watching sales to see if I can find something at a reasonable price (Charlie’s Rule of Electronics Purchasing: Never allow yourself to be rushed, you’ll spend way too much cash that way)…but for a few days, this cobbled-together system will allow us at least to watch an hour or so of television each evening. Even if we do need to bring our supper into the bedroom.

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3 Responses to “To TV, or Not Two TVs…” »


  1. voxpop Says:

    i’m no electronic genius..far from it; but it seems to me if every tv u tried blew up that the problem is other than old tvs’


  3. Charlie Summers Says:

    # voxpop Says:

    i’m no electronic genius..far from it; but it seems to me if every tv u tried blew up that the problem is other than old tvs’

    Na…my suspicion is the 28″ television died because it was old, and used a lot. (I have mild tinnitus and so need some sound to mask the “noise” - sometimes it’s Old Radio, others it’s television playing all night.) The second, the one from the basement, died I believe because I didn’t properly store it. In retrospect, I should have either had it covered from the time it hit the shelf, or when I brought it up removed the back and used air to remove the dust. I did wipe the outside down when I brought it from the basement, but I suspect there was enough of a “dust blanket” inside to cause some component or another to overheat. (That was the one that smelled like overheating, arcing components. The larger one just kept flipping on-and-off. And the 55″ rear-projector in the living room was never plugged into this outlet…heck, I don’t think it would fit anywhere in the bedroom, not while leaving room for the bed, anyway!)

    I thought about the outlet, but 1) the larger television had been plugged in there for years before it pitched a fit, and 2) the laptop computer, monitor, and external amplified speakers are plugged into it now with no ill effects.

    I’m thinking this experience was just my usual fortune at work. Thank heavens Newegg is constantly running sales on televisions…already ordered a reasonably-priced Toshiba television. I did screw up and forgot to go through a cash-back website I use - could have gotten a 2% rebate on it had I only remembered…

    (Yeah, I’m really that cheap.)


  5. voxpop Says:

    cheap is good! thanks for the explanation, charlie.

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