I’m not blaming my wife, but she was the last person to touch our television. (We’ve only had it for about 6 years; it came to us secondhand when friends departed Hong Kong, and had survived being carried through Tin Hau, being transported up and down 14 flights of stairs, then being on a container ship from Hong Kong to Singapore, then three years stuck in direct sunlight in our first flat in Singapore, and then moved in the back of a van to our current place.) I came home last night to find the television wouldn’t turn on any more, just as we’d got La Serpiente and Destroyer enthused by the idea of computer games. (La Serpiente can actually be detected by, and play with, our Xbox 360’s motion sensors, whereas Destroyer just gets very excited and runs in circles in front of us while we’re playing.)
So today I got out my tape measure to check how big our TV is (37″), looked up the price of a new one on Lazada ($400), the local Amazon-a-like of Singapore, and then went to the shops to see if we could find a matching bargain (possible). Every week we get a promotional flyer through for one sale or another, but usually the special offer is that if you drop $9000 on a 105 inch television, they throw in a 50 inch one for free. We don’t actually own our own cinema, so a screen that size would be overkill, and nobody seems to care about discounts on televisions as small as what we need.
There’s a shop called Best Deal in Singapore (where do they get these imaginative names? Maybe from the same person who called the frozen food shop ‘Cold Storage’) but all they had were televisions for a minimum of $1200. Sure, they probably had amazing depth of colour and powerful speakers, but when you’ll be playing the annals of Peppa Pig through them half the time, how much quality do you actually require? I stopped off in the Samsung shop and played with the Samsung Gear VR, which is like a poor(er) man’s Oculus Rift, and which made me feel nauseous after a few minutes. (Our recently deceased TV is a Samsung, and at least it’s only annoyed me by making enormous noises when you turn it on or off, rather than exploding into flame like one of their phones.)
Then we went into Giant. This is a very big shop. (Yup, same guy again with the names, I guess.) They had Skyworth televisions, a name I’ve never ever heard of, and also Akira televisions. Now, Akira is the name of a seminal Japanese manga (or “comic” to anyone who’s a proper adult) but it’s also a Singaporean company that sponsors a relay race around Bedok Reservoir every March, with a raffle at the end of great prizes like slow cookers and vacuum cleaners. I hadn’t realised they did enormous televisions as well. My wife and I quibbled for a bit, because Akira’s 40″ television was even cheaper ($329) but they had a 43″ television for $429, and that came with not one, not two, not three, but four, count’em, four HDMI sockets, enough for the Chromecast, the Xbox, the computer, the Microsoft Wireless Display Adaptor… everything I could possibly want. I almost chucked the kids out of the stroller and wheeled the TV home there and then, until I came to my senses and realised there was free delivery on Monday.
This will be my first new television since 2008. I still feel this is buying too often, because my parents bought a television in 1984 that lasted until 2002 (by which point it changed channel at random when various buttons in its fascia decided to pop out of their own accord), so any device that lasts less than 18 years seems to indicate profligate spending. But on the other hand, it’s an enormous television. And who could ever complain about something that big?