Friday, 5 October 2012

The Future TV

We won’t stop till we save earth!
That is to say, I won’t stop until I play the whole Mass Effect trilogy of video games from start to finish. It's now possible, with Mass Effect 1 finally released on the PS3. The Christmas release will have us forced to buy the whole trilogy to get our hands on the series’ first episode, but I suspect an individual release would follow shortly.
This tiny bit of news concerning the re-release of a 2007 video game has some interesting implications on me. First, it means I don’t have to play the game on a Windows PC, an experience I was not particularly looking forward to. And second, there are direct implications on the choices we will be making when the time comes for us to buy our next TV.
Our last escapade in the field of TVs had us buy a cheap big TV. Currently we are using this TV on our reference system and our old and very broken rear projection TV at our lounge. The latter is not expected to last much longer, hence the relevancy of holding a discussion on our future prospects. I will start by analyzing the situation.
My target with the purchase of a new TV would be to get a proper reference quality TV, relegating our current cheap but big set into lounge duties. Normally, when I use the word “proper” in the context of a TV, I refer to picture quality and almost nothing else; that is, nothing but size. That implies either getting ourselves a projector or a quality plasma TV.
This brings me back to Mass Effect, or rather the question Mass Effect puts forward: would a projector or a plasma TV truly be the best answer for my needs? The answer is that they used to, but now my needs have changed.
I already expressed my dismay with mainstream American cinema. As my reviews blog testifies, we have severely cut the number of crap movies we get to watch. Cutting down on American cinema also meant cutting down on the number of Blu-rays we get to watch, because it is the latest American release that is easily available on rental Blu-rays and not much else. The other trend is that we get to watch less TV/movies overall, a trend I suggest to be the result of two factors: the “we don’t have time / between careers and parenting we are always tired” factor, and the “we have better alternatives on our hands in the shape of ebooks and tablets”.
Whichever way you put it, picture quality is no longer the main event of our TV watching. Given my constant need for Mass Effect fixations I would argue plasmas are out (due to the picture burning potential of video games) and LCDs are in, be it LED backlit or conventional. A projector? Sure, that would be a nice gimmick, but I dare you to try playing a video game during day time on a projector and see if you can get away without a headache.
It therefore appears that the TV for me would be a middle of the range LCD model, probably from the likes of Samsung or LG (not because they are middle of the range manufacturers but rather because their TVs are good!). I suspect the main point of contention would be size: my wife seems to disagree with my natural philosophy of “there is no such thing as [an affordable] TV that’s too big”.
For now, though, I see no pressure to rush and replace our existing cheap LED TV; it will do an excellent job taking me through my favorite video game trilogy. That is, if I can bear letting Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer mode a break, which hardly seems to be the case at the moment (they are actually releasing an expansion for it next week!).
Given our mortgage, I cross my fingers for the old rear projector to live long and prosper. There's no rush.

Mass Effect Trilogy image: EA

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