Monday, July 02, 2007

Just doing my part for the economy

A window retrofit, a new air conditioner, a new 1080P DLP TV and new furniture...

I work from home and although San Diego doesn't get as hot as other parts of the country, it gets hot enough during the summer months to wish I had air conditioning. Last summer, I bought a portable air conditioner for my office, but either something was wrong with it or it just wasn't powerful enough and I quickly returned it to Costco.

We don't have vents, so putting in central air conditioning would be far too expensive. A window air conditioner would work for most of the houses in our neighborhood, but our windows were replaced before we moved in with brand-new vinyl windows that slide left-to-right, rather than up and down. Since most of the windows in the house are too narrow to fit a window air conditioner in the half-width that I could slide it open and since I don't want to give up one of the big picture windows for a window air conditioner and a huge piece of plastic to cover from the top of the A/C to the top of the window, my only options were to suffer again this summer or to replace one of our windows. I opted to replace one of our narrow side-to-side windows with an up-and-down window.

The new window was installed today and I discovered during the install that I was getting less window than I expected. I had asked for and was expecting a total window replacement and I even asked the company to come out and measure the window for this purpose. What I got was a "retrofit" where they removed the middle of the window and insert a new window with a new frame inside the existing window. In other words, I lose about an inch along all sides. Needless to say, I was not happy and I'm still trying to work out with the window company a solution that will get me a big window without additional cost to me. I don't know how successful I'll be at that.

In anticipation of having a new window installed, I ordered a Haier ESA3105 window air conditioner last Friday and I am waiting for it to be shipped to me. This model was a Consumer Reports "Best Buy" and it's an Energy Star model with 10000 BTU, which should be more than enough for my living room and office.

Not content at spending hundreds of dollars for a new window and a new air conditioner, I also bought something today that is much cooler. The only TV I've had since 1995 is a 25" Zenith with standard-definition picture-tube technology and, while its served me well for 12 years and still works perfectly fine, it's no match for any of the HDTVs on the market. Kara told me a year and a half ago that I could buy a new TV, but I could never make up my mind on what I wanted. Well, I finally decided and this morning I ordered online a Samsung HL-T5689s for the lowest price I could find. Most sites list it at $2,799 or $2,599, but I found it through the Samsung web site at The High Definition Store for $2,199 and with free shipping. I used some of that $600 savings to buy the extended 5-year warranty, but I would have bought the warranty anyway and, even with the warranty, it was still the lowest price I could find.

My new television is the new model for 2007. It's a 1080P 56" LED DLP with 3 HDMI 1.3 inputs. It has an amazing contrast ratio of 10000:1 and with the new LED technology, I won't have to ever replace a bulb. It's got too many cool features to list here -- probably more than I'll ever use. I can hardly wait (although I'll have to wait at least 5 days) for it to arrive.

I didn't order the Samsung TV stand but instead ordered a nicer-looking Bush stand (Model #VS13988-03) with enough room for my audio and video components. Unfortunately, that'll arrive about a week after my TV, so I'll probably have to prop the tv on top of the coffee table for a week.

Once my tv arrives, my next purchase priority is to get an upconverting DVD player with HDMI output to replace my ancient non-progressive scan DVD player. I haven't figured out which one to get yet, but I figure I can get something for under $100 that will cover my DVD viewing needs until a victor is declared in ththe Blu-Ray and HD-DVD war or until a good hybrid unit is available at a reasonable price (might be by the end of the year). If anyone has a good recommendation, please feel free to comment on this post.

Also after my tv arrives, I'll need to upgrade my DirecTv to HD with the HR20 HD-DVR to replace my R15 standard-definition DVR.

Anyone want to buy a used Zenith?

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