The Enemy: A LCD Flat Screen TV

The flat screen MagnavoxBy Jim Callicott

The big box in my living room has been sitting there for a week, undisturbed. Every time I approach it I have flashbacks to 2006. I know the contents of the box and I must meet in what I consider technical combat. Inside the box is a new Samsung flat screen television.

I was hooked when the first flat screen high definition TV commercial appeared on my regular old box. I wanted one with a passion. Many lunch hours were spent at Walmart so I could just look at that beautiful picture and imagine Monday Night Football. Saturday nights were spent in the electronics department with a certain amount of drooling.

I began saving money to buy one; my ultimate dream purchase. Instead of three meals a day, I’d try for one meal every three days and save the grocery money. Collecting and selling aluminum cans became my favorite hobby. I would walk to and from work, uphill both ways, to save gas money. I even gave up beer one day a month; anything to save money for my flat screen HDTV. Okay, I’m kidding about the beer, but I gave up Cheerios and had water for breakfast.

Finally, in early December, thanks to a Christmas sale, I saved just enough to purchase the object of my dreams: my own flat screen Magnavox LCD HDTV. I have never had a stress headache in my life, nor have I owned a flat screen TV. Both arrived around the same time.

This great adventure began when I bought the television from a well known discount retail giant. They don’t deliver or set them up or even offer encouragement; they just sell them to the unsuspecting public. With help from a cart pusher, I loaded the monster in the back seat of my car. I bribed a neighbor who helped me bring it in the house.

I write. I don’t assemble. Once I have it in the living room, the realization sets in that I have to put this electronic giant together with cord, cables and instructions in some unknown language: Technical English. While surveying the table that will hold the new television, I realized it won’t due. It’s not strong enough.

Back I go to the retail giant to buy a new, stronger and larger TV stand. The retail store does not deliver or put TV stands together either. A cart pusher and neighbor were once again utilized. That was the last time my neighbor answered the door.

Now I have two things to assemble. Wait, I need a new HD cable box. I call the cable company. Two hours later I get a real human being on the phone and set the appointment. The cable guy will be there somewhere between dawn and dusk in three or four days and I have to be there when he arrives.

Four days later the cable guy shows up with my cable box. He doesn’t assemble either. I assured him that the person on the phone who set the appointment said he would be happy to assemble the television and stand. He assured me that was not in his job description.

The cable guy plugged the box into the outlet and, as there is no television to connect it to, sets it on the floor, wishes me good luck and promptly leaves. I’m now alone in the assembly room and the headaches begin.

The cable guy was there on Tuesday. Friday, the stand is put together and appears strong enough to hold the television. I open the box, remove the TV, take out the instruction booklet with the toll-free number to Magnavox and start to work. I write. I don’t assemble.

Monday afternoon I am on a first name basis with everyone who works for Magnavox. Headaches are pounding and the company is now on speed dial. Approximately 4:00 p.m.—and after what seems like several hundred telephone calls—the television is on the stand. I plug it in, turn it on and it works! I have a beautiful flat screen LCD high definition television picture.

Monday evening I want to watch a DVD. The DVD player that worked on the old box isn’t working on the new one. Headaches return.

Tuesday afternoon I know the birthdays, wedding days and names of all the children of the people who work for Magnavox. They walked me through the troubleshooting all twelve times I called about the DVD player. We finally agree the TV is fine and the problem must be with the DVD player. Aspirin has no effect on the headaches.

Wednesday I decide to bring the DVD player upstairs, install it on the old box and see what happens. It worked! I carry the player back downstairs and reconnect it to the new one. It doesn’t work. Stress headache big time.

I’m on the phone with Magnavox again. By now I’ve been invited to three Christmas parties, a kindergarten play and an offer to sell Avon on the side. At first I was given a reference number to use should I have a need to call back. Now all I have to say is, “It’s me!

The nice lady on the phone this time decided she was going to solve my problem. She asked where my AV was and I replied, “Huh?” After some discussion she determined I had correctly taken the output cables from the player and connected them with the input sockets on the side of the TV.

She said to look at my remote and asked if I saw an AV button. I did. “Push it,” she said. I did. A multi-choice box appeared on the screen. It had AV1, AV2, AV3 and Side. The phone lady said to click down to Side and press OK. I did.

Bam! The DVD player is working. I thanked the phone lady as she was giving directions to her house in Georgia, telling me what side dish to bring and what time the party starts.

The headaches have gone away. The television is working fantastic. I have many new friends at Magnavox. There should be a moral to this story but I haven’t the slightest idea what it would be.

July 4, 2014, the Magnavox died. The well known discount retail giant will still sell you a television, but they still don’t deliver, set them up or offer encouragement. They will sell you a warranty, but I think you have to take the set to South Korea for repairs.

I bought a bottle of aspirin along with the television. I called Samsung and gave them advance warning I would be calling. I am feeling a strong sense of déjà vu. In hind sight, maybe I should have renewed my library card and given up television altogether.

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