We both woke up in the middle of the night on Friday because the bedroom TV was still on. Which is to say that no program was playing but the screen was illuminated. There we had a dead remote; or I guess it was the TV that was dead, not the remote. No matter what I did I could not get the TV to turn off. Disconnect from the wall, and when I plugged it back in the screeen lit up again, not bothering to wait for a click on the remote. Not a good sign.
The TV in the bedroom is newer than the coach but older than our ownership of the coach. It’s a Seiki — which I haven’t seen very often in any retail outlets. It’s also a 22 inch unit, which, if you’ve gone shopping for TV’s lately is kind of hard (or impossible) to find on a store shelf. The movement towards larger and larger TV’s has resulted in a narrowing of the Small LED TV market.
Saturday (the Saturday before our scheduled departure from Milwaukee) became the day to go looking for a replacement. My Friday troubleshooting pretty much ruled out a cheap repair for a TV we never cared for in the first place; so a replacement was in the cards. Luckily Milwaukee has some retail variety and after 5 stops at different stores we found a Vizio we were willing to purchase: close to the right size (24″ not 22″), with plug-ins where they would be accessible on a cabinet mount, still using 120vac — I’m starting to see TV’s with plug-in transformers converting to 6vdc, and a menu system that I liked. It’s also cheap enough that an inexpensive extended warranty will get us a replacement TV and not a repair.
The challenge was getting it installed before we left town and I was once again without tools! Fortunately I wrangled some time with my SIL, Michael, who’s chop saw made quick and neat work of the cross pieces, his nailer and wood glue assured a solid platform on which to mount the (7.2 lb) TV.
After letting it sit overnight, an hour on Monday morning saw the project completed and ready for the road. We could not find a single 22″ screen in town. The only 19″ sets we found were from Insignia and Element and I wasn’t very happy with the color or with the menu system — so a 24″ set loomed as the logical choice.
The cabinet facing is only 21 inches across, so any 24 inch set was going to have to be a surface mount. I’ll figure out how to use the recessed cabinet some time in the future. Perhaps it’ll get used for secret storage or something… I dunno….
Once again life is a compromise. I didn’t want to remanufacture the whole driver’s side of the bedroom; all I wanted was a usable TV with a menu system that would easily detect air channels (for when we are parked without a satellite window) and satellite signals for most of the time. The one real drawback that I experienced with the Seiki was scanning for channels. Yes — it picked up more stations than the Vizio up front — but it picked up marginal stations with signals too weak to actually provide a picture on the screen. The result was that we looked as if we had a lot of channels but we’d have to go in after the scan and delete all the stations that were too weak to display. Just a little annoyance, but worth it for me to pay attention to the menu system when I was making a purchase decision.
I like the setup on the new one. I scan for air TV, then input one channel — #4 to pick up the DISH feed and I’m done. Easy Peasy. Fast. And the picture quality is decent for a relatively inexpensive TV.
If you note in the photo there’s a black blob above the TV. whoever did the Seiki install took a simple step to compensate for the differnce in aspect ratio between the original tube-type TV and that first digital — they placed a piece of hard but flexible plastic over the gap, held it in place with three machine screws and voila! The new TV is larger but oddly enough the vertical height is almost the same. I left the plastic just where it had been and it was just fine for use with the new TV.
It’s not Rocket Surgery (mixing together those two great careers: rocket science and brain surgery) and it works. With luck I won’t have to deal with it again for a while. I already attached the HDMI cable and the Ethernet cable in case I want to connect the set to something else. In the past I used the TV as a monitor for my file server, and I do have an Ethernet network in the coach — so if I find the need/use/desire for greater connectivity it’s there, waiting to be used.