Not even a bread bowl full of onion dip can impress your Super Bowl guests like a snazzy new TV. But, as our moms taught us, pleasing your buddies is no reason to do anything, especially when it comes to buying pricey electronics. So, as people with home theater knowledge, it is our duty to help prevent our friends and families from making a big, flat mistake. Here are a few of the most common flubs you'll probably have to warn them against.
Going too big
During a Super Bowl party, an enormous screen lets everyone in the room enjoy the subtle nuances of each new beer commercial. But when the party is over and the guests are all gone, the reality of just how unpleasant it is to sit six-feet away from a 65-inch screen will start to sink in. Remind them that an evening of swooning is certainly not worth years of motion sickness.
Forgetting the HD cable box
At first it sounds ridiculous, but after hearing news last week that 17 million Americans aren't watching any HD content on their HDTVs, the problem gets more real. I have personally gotten more than a few calls from people who have hooked up their new TVs, only to find out that their old cable box doesn't have the magic. It's an annoying problem that could drive someone crazy if it results in having to watch the game in boring old 480p.
Falling for the expensive cable hard sell
Cheap cables aren't always the best option, but extremely overpriced cables picked off of the wall at the local big box aren't much better. Yes, an HDMI cable is a necessity, but you know they're much better off going online and buying exactly what they need. The promise of an extra $40 in their pocket will probably convince them just fine.
Skipping the set-up
For someone upgrading from a crappy old TV, any kind of big HD picture will look pretty incredible. But that doesn't absolve them of their responsibility to tweak the image until it's just right. Remind them that, even if it means missing an hour of the 7-hour pre-game coverage, it will be worth it in the end. Then write a letter to your senator suggesting a government bail-out that provides every TV-watching American with a professional calibration.
Going too cheap
It's tough to talk someone down from the low-budget ledge, especially when many people are short on funds. But try to emphasize just how much of a pain it will be when their cheap-o screen goes black and they're forced to ship it back to the manufacturer for repairs. Oh, and that they can expect to hear the sentence, "Sorry, sir. That's not covered under our warranty."
If you have your own horror stories about people letting the big game cloud their better judgment, feel free to leave them in the comments.
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