Shopping for a TV for the first time in 15 years.

The latest gadgets and tech toys.
Dec. 14 2006 2:36 PM

Television Quest

I haven't had a boob tube since 1991. Can I find one I want to buy?

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This was it—I told the salesman that I'd found the screen I wanted to buy. "Well, um, I'm not saying you have to buy this one," he hesitated, taking a step back as he gestured toward the price tag: $7,999.95. Ulp.

I know what you're thinking: I went looking for a pricey TV so I could brag about how I'm able to discern its incredible image quality. But it's the opposite: You don't have to be any kind of expert to tell that the Pioneer leaves every other TV out there in the dust. Just go to the store and look at one. Now, that doesn't mean you shouldn't go for the cheaper model. If you turn down the lights and sit front and center, most of the new screens are still better than anything from five years ago. The magic of TV is that a few nitpicky glitches don't distract from a good show.

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The verdict: Mission not accomplished. I'd planned to bring back a $1,500 display worth recommending to all. Instead, my gung-ho reporting backfired. I'll have to keep saving while Pioneer's prices—hopefully—keep falling. Meanwhile, I'll watch Galactica at my desk, same as always. I've already been without a TV for 15 years. What's one more?

Paul Boutin is a writer living in San Francisco.