Photo: Gustavo Devito/Flickr
So I was just sitting in the living room, enjoying game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, when out of the blue—nothing.The television went black and started making a weird hissing noise. I’ve heard that noise once before; it was the first time the bulb blew on the unit. I also noticed a second blinking red light on the front of the unit, which confirms the death of the bulb.
Of course this had to happen today of all days: as I write this, I am listening to an internet feed of the hockey game from the LA radio affiliate, and it sounds like this will be the last game of the NHL season. No more hockey for the next 4 months, and I couldn’t even enjoy the final game. But I digress…
As I said, this wasn’t the first time the bulb has blown on this television. I originally purchased it in 2002, and it lasted until 2009 until the first one went. The fact that the second bulb only lasted a third as long as the original one leads me to believe that the unit itself may have played a part in it. That, plus the fact I don’t use it as often as I once did makes me very suspicious. I figure I have three options:
- Replace the bulb (again)–another new one will run me only about $50, which is a 61% savings from the last time I purchased one. With this option, even if the trend of decreasing life continues, I won’t be out very much money. And, if it ends up lasting just as long as the first replacement bulb, I would have gotten more than my moneys worth.
- Buy a new one and upgrade—It has been a decade since I last purchased a television. This one is pretty outdated (a rear projection LCD) although not as dated as those hulking floor-standing models or the ones that have actual dials on them. I’d say that I’ve milked this one for every penny that I spent on it, and I wouldn’t have a second thought about getting a new one. But do I go with… New or refurbished—By opting to go with a refurbished/open box model, I can save quite a bit of money. There is one downside to this method, which makes me think twice when it comes to certain purchases. I can’t get a CarFax for a television, so I have no way of knowing exactly what kind of problems there were with any given refurbished model. Was it a small issue? Was it a more significant repair that needed attention?
- Try going without—This is something I have never done before. I have always had a television set ever since I can remember. If I go this route, I may get more done here and it’s not like there is very much that I would be missing out on.
Each of my choices have some validity to them. After all, there are many people who think that you should repair an item until it is absolutely no longer functional. Then there are some who would say that I’ve a long enough time with my current television, and that after a decade I should probably just get a new one. The last option is my least favourite of the lot; even though I don’t watch a lot, or even pay for premium cable it’s still nice to do nothing for a little while and zone out. Plus, I can’t even watch movies if it doesn’t work at all.
I should probably add one small fact: it’s the only television I own. I don’t have one in the bedroom which I can move out to the living room (I already have enough distractions–I don’t need more of a reason not to go to sleep at night!)
What will I end up doing? I honestly have no idea at this point. For now, I think I’ll leave it as is. There isn’t any reason to waste the money on a new bulb if I decide a week later to get a new one, and I may not even find one that I both like from a quality standpoint and want to spend the necessary amount of money on.
How do you make the decision to repair or replace a product? What is your preferred time frame for upgrading household items such as electronics and appliances?