In a coup that only she could orchestrate, Oprah Winfrey will air her much anticipated interview with disgraced cycling icon, cancer survivor and part-time Aspen resident Lance Armstrong today on her OWN network. Like millions of other Americans, I plan on watching the interview as soon as I figure out what channel OWN is on and if it’s even included in my cable package.
Say what you will about Lance Armstrong but from cycling to cancer to competition to controversies to crushing his critics and even all the way to Sheryl Crow, he has lived a life like no other and I want to hear what he has to say. With all the twists, turns, switchbacks and setbacks involved with his story I cannot wait to watch. It looks like he’s ready to mount another comeback and it’s going to be great. Well, except for one thing.
I will be forced to watch the interview old-school, in low definition, on a tiny 13-inch screen. It’s a modern media tragedy. I won’t be able to see the welling of tears, the bearing of soul or any of the other of small subtleties seen between Oprah and Lance. That’s because my relatively new flat screen TV has lived up to its name and fallen flat on its face. It’s dead. It wasn’t even two years old. If only I knew then what I now know about new flat screen TVs. I might have been able to spare myself some struggle and stress. But alas, my experiences should not be endured in vain. Others can learn from my trials and tribulations. I have a tale to tell to anyone who has or is about to get a new flat screen.
Right now is a great time to get a television. Between Christmas and the Super Bowl there is no shortage of deals. I got my first flat screen this time of year. It was about two years ago and it was one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. But it wasn’t because of the holidays. It was a big gift for a big birthday. For making it 40 years, my girl got me a 40-inch flat screen. It was an inch for every year. I called it my 40 inches to freedom. But a couple of weeks ago it died.
The problems started back in November, just when it started getting cold. I keep my heat pretty low at night and I started noticing it took the TV longer and longer to warm up when I turned it on in the morning. Finally, two weeks ago, I smelled a little something burning after turning the TV on. The next thing I know the beautiful high definition picture went black. It was over. Only the sound remained.
I started doing some research and learned that flat screen TVs are plagued with problems. It doesn’t matter what the make is or what the size is, they all have problems. I was starting to wonder if I had gotten a lemon and what it would take to fix it.
We began a series of phone calls to the store where we bought the TV, the company that made it and even the credit card company used to make the purchase. We were trying to find out what kind of warranty we had with the TV. None of the parties wanted to take responsibility. They kept passing the buck. Eventually, it was made clear that the manufacturer was the only one that might fix it for free at this point. So we started calling them.
After several calls that earned only snubs, we managed to get a manager who helped us out and gave us an extended warranty. We described the problem and were told a repairman would be there in a week. Most importantly, we would not be charged.
About a week later the repairman showed up and he was a pretty friendly guy. He kept on talking throughout his visit. One of the more interesting things he had to say was how to avoid similar circumstances in the future and he had some sound advice on what you should do if you get a new flat screen TV.
He told me that next time I get a new flat screen TV I should turn it on and leave it on for a week straight. Just let it run. Do not turn it off for one week. That way if something was going to burn out or break it would happen sooner than later, hopefully that week and while under warranty.
And if at the end of that week the TV was still running, the next thing he said to do was to turn the TV on and off over and over again. The surges and pulses of power also are something else that can bring down a flat screen.
I’m not sure if he is right but what he said makes sense. If you get a new car the first thing you want to do is take it for a ride. Test it out and make sure that nothing is wrong with it. It’s the same thing for a new TV. Take it for a spin.
He also went on to say the problems with flat screens are caused by bad circuit boards. The machines that make the boards do a sloppy job on the solder and attach things too tight or too lose to the board. It is an issue of quality control.
The last thing he said to do was to buy the TV with a one-year warranty while using a credit card that will double the warranty. That will cover you for two years, which is about how long many of these TVs last. He also mentioned that Costco is a good place to get a television and I’ve heard the same.
It was just about then that he said he had finished fixing my flat screen. He plugged it in and turned it on. But it didn’t work. There was still no picture. Just the sound. “Not again,” he says. The replacement part they sent him was bad. It happens fairly often. It’s going to be another week or two until he can come back and fix it.
So I’m still without my flat screen and will be watching Oprah’s interview with Lance Armstrong on a 20-year-old Sanyo with a screen the size of a shoe box. Don’t end up like me. Heed my words and do what needs to be done if you get a new flat screen.
Contact Jeremy at firstname.lastname@example.org.