Jim Ramsey, a long-time friend, deserves a commission from Salem's Video Only store.
When I told Jim that I'd just bought the newly released Apple TV device that streams Netflix, Amazon Prime, and a whole lot more in 4K, he said, "But now you need a 4K television."
Well, damn. I hadn't thought of that.
We had a Samsung television that was working fine, though it had started to seem a bit dated. But until we ditched our crappy CenturyLink DSL, the only so-called "broadband" option out here in rural south Salem, for the hugely faster Starlink satellite internet (thank you, Elon Musk!), we didn't have the internet speed to make 4K streaming an option for us.
So with a Memorial Day sale in progress at Video Only, off my wife and I went yesterday to check out what TVs can do in 2021.
I was clutching a printout from Consumer Reports of the top-rated 55 inch televisions that had an LG model rated #2, just one point behind a more expensive Sony model.
Pleasingly, the guy we talked to at Video Only -- Lucas Weimer, the Sales Manager -- told us he owned that LG television and liked it a lot.
Even better, he said that the Consumer Reports ratings were from 2020 and the 2021 LG televisions are even better. Plus, if we weren't going to mount it on a wall, we could save several hundred dollars by getting the tabletop model.
It didn't take much for Weimer to sell us on the LG OLED55CIP. It was $1,500, three hundred less than the LG list price and the Amazon price. I liked Weimer's casual, competent, low-key approach to making the sale.
Of course, we basically were sold on this television once we saw the excellent OLED picture and heard its impressive sound.
It fit nicely into my Subaru Crosstrek. Once the LG was set up at our home, it was time to put it through its paces. At my age (72), I remember well how simple televisions were for most of my TV-watching life. Which, basically, is my entire life.
You turned it on. You turned it off. You changed the channel. You changed the sound. That was about it.
Oh, except when I was young, growing up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, where the only channels came over the air from Fresno or Bakersfield, fuzzily, to change the channel I'd have to climb a ladder and get on our roof to turn the antenna this way and that while my mother yelled through an open window, "looking better, no; go back, that's worse; OK, guess that's the best picture."
So back then my mother served as the human intelligence which led to our black and white TV being (barely) watchable.
Now, our new LG is brimming with artificial intelligence, based on a description of our model on the LG web site and my initial forays into the guide to features that I've been making my way through using the remote control.
Ooh! Deep-learning algorithms. Now we're talking!
But I want more than just an artificial intelligence (AI) that automatically adjusts the picture and sound. How about a television that knows me so well, it automatically presents me with what I'll enjoy watching most when I turn it on.
Such a TV is coming. I just probably won't live to see it.
Though I've only had a day so far to learn what our new LG television is capable of, it seems clear that increasingly, the line between smart phones, computers, and televisions is blurring.
Eventually the only difference between them may be the size of the screen. Otherwise, televisions will be as connected to the internet as smart phones and computers, while those devices will have the same entertainment capabilities as televisions.
Regarding the OLED thing, I didn't really know what it was yesterday when we bought the television. I just knew that Consumer Reports had said it was a desirable improvement over LED technology, so I wanted it.
Turns out, from an informative CNET article, that back in late 2019 at least, LG was the only television manufacturer making OLED screens, which stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diodes.
The LG web site talks trash about those archaic LEDs.
The CNET article says that "infinite contrast" may seem like an overstatement, but actually it isn't.
OLED TV marketing often claims "infinite" contrast ratio (expressed as the brightest white divided by the darkest black) is technically infinite. And contrast ratio is arguably the most important aspect of picture quality., and while that might sound like , it's one of the extremely rare instances where such claims are actually true. Since OLED can produce a perfect black, emitting no light whatsoever, its