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Last week when I trekked out to Sears to get my toolset, I had to walk through the electronics/entertainment department to get to where the tools were. I think Sears does this by design. And why wouldn't they? Guys like their toys.

Of course, I stopped and checked out all the shiny new televisions and drooled over a few of them. I didn't even bother looking at the tube-tv's. As I've said here before they're too heavy and would take up too much space in my small apartment, so I concentrated on the panel ones. Wow are they nice. I spotted a Maganavox tv that would have suited very nicely. A 23-inch with a great picture. Not too big, not too small and it would have mounted on the wall very easily. The price was $500.00.

Then reality set in.

1. I'm not about to go and spend 500 bucks on a television. If it were 300 I might have entertained the idea of buying it. But 500? Nah. Not for a 23-inch set.

2. The tv was HD. All the tv places are really pushing HDTV right now. I've seen HD, I like it, but the problem is that you need an HD receiver and that costs money (with the cheapest one being about 100 bucks). Of course, you could buy a tv that already has the receiver built-in, but that costs even more money. Combine that with the fact you have to subscribe to a service that actually broadcasts an HD signal (like DirecTV) and you can add that to the bill. And finally, there aren't that many channels that broadcast in HD. To get those channels, you need to pay extra monthly subscriber fees if on DirecTV.

3. Considering that I haven't watched tv since I got to Tampa, and that I would only watch it maybe a couple of hours a day or less, does this really justify spending 500 bucks for a set, 100 bucks for an HD receiver and fifty bucks a month just to get the scant few channels that utilize the HD capability?

Answer: No.

I will eventually buy a widescreen television so I can watch my DVD movies on them. There's a new technology called Blu-Ray (a.k.a. "HD DVD"), so when the time comes that HDTV's come down in price enough where I can afford one, I will also purchase (should the technology be accepted) a DVD player that can play both standard discs and Blu-Ray discs. The total price for both the television and the Blu-Ray player will be around 500 bucks. That's for both pieces, not just the television. That I could find acceptable.

But as far as spending fifty bucks a month for television channels, no way. I'd rather stick rabbit ears on top of my tv first. At least that's free - and I'm hoping that free-tv will stick around for a long, long time.

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