One of the main pieces of electronic equipment in my room is my 60" LCD Projection HDTV, Panasonic. Before I go any further, I feel it is necessary to recount the epic tale in which I acquired such a wonderous marvel of modern technology.
I used to work with a gay guy. When I say "used to," I mean he's since quit working there, and by gay guy I mean he was married to another dude. I never had a problem with it, in fact we often shot the breeze when I came in to work as he was getting ready to leave (I worked night shift at the time and he worked the overlapping shift). Well, one day he asked if anyone was interested in buying his television because he and his husband were getting a divorce. At the time I just sort of chuckled and asked how they had gotten married since they were both dudes, and he explained they'd gone somewhere and done some ceremony or something to that effect. Point is, once I found out he was selling a 60" HDTV I sat up and paid a bit closer attention. Turns out he wanted to unload this thing along with the home theater system (a 5 disc DVD changer complete with 5.1 surround soundand subwoofer). What floored me was the price . . . he only wanted $1800 for the entire setup. After much consideration (the next day), I informed him I was indeed very interested in buying it off him, and we set up a payment plan. I cut him a check for 300 bucks which he used to have the thing delivered to my house. For the next several months I made payments on it each paycheck, and before long I was clean and clear, the proud owner of a kick-ass tv and surround sound system.
Now . . . a couple months ago, upon turning on my illuminous beacon of digital entertainment, a message popped up stating that my lamp life was about up, and it needed replaced. For a split second I freaked out, then shrugged and hit "EXIT." The tv was still working fine, and after a while it just became habbit to hit EXIT each time I turned it on and the message came up.
And months went by . . .
At this point I should point out that I need my television on to sleep. The pulsating glow, the faint sound of whatever is on . . . I need it. If my tv is turned off, I actually wake up from a sound sleep and get pissed because someone turned it off and woke me up. Well . . .
5 a.m. I've been in bed for 4 hours. I awaken from a sound sleep because my tv isn't on. Grumbling, I grope around blindly for the remote and hit the power button . . . . .
30 seconds later, I'm still laying there looking at a blank screen. This is abnormal. Where's the message saying I need to replace my lamp?
And it dawns on me.
The lamp's completely dead. No more tv for you.
. . . I can't sleep. I turn it off and on a few more times to no avail. No luck, and I can't sleep. Silently, I'm cursing myself for not trying harder to find out how to get a replacement sooner, but the website wasn't very specific and I wasn't sure the exact make and model of the tv so I couldn't really find anything. Well, I'm wide awake now because I don't have my tv to help me sleep, so what better time to start finding out these things and looking this information up?
Cut to 20 minutes later. I've discovered I own a PT-60LC14 60" Diagonal LCD Projection HDTV Monitor with Photo Viewer SD / PCMCIA Card Slots. I need a TY-LA1000 replacement lamp. Lo and behold, they have a 1-800 number to call and order parts.
11 a.m. I call, explain my problem to a voice recognition program that, admittedly, was able to understand what I said just as it claimed it could, and am transferred to talk to a real person named "Art" who sounds more like his name is "Mohammed" or "Mohinder." Here is a rough transcript of the conversation.
"Thank you for calling, my name is Art, ID number 39395494393(I have no clue what the actual ID number was, but you get the idea), how may I help you?"
"Yes, I need a replacement lamp for my tv."
"Alright, and what is your name?
I give him my name.
"Alright sir, do you have the serial number of the replacement lamp you need?"
"Yeah, I need a TY-LA1000 lamp."
"Okay sir, the TY-LA1000 lamp is two-hundred and fifty dollars plus shipping and handling with a 1 year warranty."
-An awkward silence where I'm supposed to say something but am dumbstruck-
"Can I have your location to calculate shipping and handling?"
"Erm, yeah . . . " followed by me giving him my location.
After confirming my location, "Alright Mr. Garadain, the total cost would be two hundred eighty-eight dollars and [some odd] cents."
-At this point he continues speaking, but I'm stuck on 288 dollars and don't hear what he says. Eventually I interrupt him.-
"-Ah, I can't afford 288 dollars right now . . . "
"Alright then sir, thank you for calling Panasonic, for-"
-Again, he keeps talking, but the number 288 is blinking wildly in my head so I can't understand a word he says. Eventually I hear-
" . . . and again, thank you for your call."
My father, who works on electronics for a living as an IT Tech at the hospital, took apart the entire back of the tv to discover there's a quick access hatch to the lamp assembly on the front pannel. Its actually pretty funny, but I'm still out a tv until my replacement lamp arrives. Once we pulled the thing out, it definitely needs replaced . . . the filaments inside are totally fried and there are small pieces of broken glass inside. I completely wore the thing out. Found a new bulb complete with housing unit all pre-installed and ready to rock 'n roll for 118 bucks including shipping on eBay from an online electronics store that seems to deal in lamps of various sorts for televisions such as mine. Hopefully it gets here soon . . . having grown so accustomed to HD, normal tv just doesn't cut it for me any more . . . . .