For Our Viewing Pleasure: Buying A Bigger TV

I’m not sure any of you have noticed, but we have a tiny TV. Well, some of you have definitely noticed because you keep laughing at us and commenting about how overdue we are for a bigger one. And as the resident man of the house, I have to say I agree. Our little 26-incher made sense in the old house, where our den was so narrow that I could practically change the channel with my toe…

But now that we have a bit more space in our current living room (we actually miss the cozy-ness of our first living room, but love having extra room for Clara to play/run around), the phrase “we really need a bigger TV” gets uttered anytime a subtitle pops up, a news ticker rolls across the screen, or we have anyone over to watch a movie with us. Yeah, we can’t read those things without standing up and walking halfway across the room. But a new TV is something we’ve just been putting off and putting off, which is surprising considering how much TV we watch.

But ever since we got the tip that February and March were the best times to buy a TV (supposedly these post-Christmas, post-Super-Bowl months are the television industry’s slow season, and when demand is low, prices can drop) we’ve been waiting for the right moment to seize the day and just upgrade already. And after a bit of research, a bit of chatting with my brother-in-law Martin (who went through a vigorous research process of his own a few months ago), and a bit of price checking – we narrowed it down to these two TVs – a Vizio and a Samsung, both sold at Target:

They’re both LCDs, both 1080p, and both in the neighborhood of 40″. They were also both eco models that only cost $17 a year to run, so they’re very low on the energy scale (the lowest we saw was $15 a year for a costs-double LED). The around 40″ size wasn’t any magic number that we calculated, it’s just what we arrived at after discussing that we wanted something big, but not crazy-big (and when we held up a tape measure at home, it felt right). Both had 4+ star reviews on Target, Amazon, Walmart and a few other sites that came up on our Google search. Any idea what we ended up choosing?

Naturally, we went for the $100 cheaper / 2″ larger Vizio. But that $449.99 wasn’t our final price. You know us and our coupons…

The reason we wanted to buy our TV at Target was:

  • They were having a temporary price cut – taking it from $479 to $449
  • We have a Target credit card, which gives us 5% off every purchase – knocking it down to $427
  • Target randomly sent us an “additional 5% off all HDTVs on top of the 5% for using your card” coupon (I think coupons like these go out to Target cardholders) – shaving it down to $406
  • We had a couple of leftover Christmas gift cards, which left our final out-of-pocket cost at $356

Which isn’t bad considering our much tinier TV was purchased for about that much five years ago (we think that old TV will either go into another room or get craigslisted). So after 15 months of staring at our too-small TV and saving up/stalking sales, we brought that baby home. And Burger couldn’t have been more excited to watch… the news? Seriously Vizio? You thought this lady was the most exciting graphic to show on your box? Can’t a guy get an exotic underwater scene with fish and coral in all colors of the rainbow? Or at least a charging bull or a running horse or something with a little speed/excitement?

Before we set it up, we wanted to try to capture exactly what sort of an upgrade we were making. So here’s a pic of our old TV:

Ridiculous, isn’t it? It’s a bit exaggerated because this is a small picture of a small TV, but you get the idea. So we broke out the new guy just for comparison’s sake. It’s starting to look a bit better, right? It’s also starting to look like we’re gonna need a bigger media console too (we’ve been planning to build something from scratch or retrofit something from the thrift store, so we’ll keep you posted).

Here’s that view from the couch with the new TV on. Hey look, now you can actually tell that we were watching Cougar Town now! As in, all of the letters are readable now (again, this isn’t a life sized photo, it’s a small picture of a TV across the room, so in person it’s a lot bigger and reading small things like the subtitle are now no sweat). Whew.

Oh and we tethered it to the wall with a wire that came with the TV along with a screw and heavy duty anchor (we may eventually mount it on the wall, once we figure out what’s going on under it so we can determine the height, etc). But for now this will at least keep it from tipping.

Hopefully this is just the beginning of updating that whole area of the living room. We definitely think it needs a bigger piece of furniture – preferably with more storage and a bit more height – to ground our big new TV friend. But until then, we’re just happy to give our squinting muscles a break… and of course we’re happy to have the Cul De Sac Crew back in our lives.

Is anyone else making any television upgrades lately? Or just watching some good TV? Now that the book shoots are done, maybe we’ll actually have time to watch the boob tube again! So much catching up to do. But you know we’re up to date on The Walking Dead so nobody spoils that for us. Haha.


  1. says

    Definitely a great update. I am so blind I wouldn’t have been able to read the subtitles either. On a different note I am not sure I have seen a head on shot of that wall before. I like it with a set of doors on either side of the tv. I just love your den.

  2. says

    Wow, you can finally see what’s on the screen! ;) No new tv for us, but I remember buying a flat screen and ditching the big clunker we had. And, it was a Vizio. Great brand and we’ve had it for almost 5 years now. Enjoy some time relaxing. :)

  3. says

    We bought a 46″ tv four our basement (once renovations are completed) after Christmas because it was on sale. We thought “temporarily” we’ll keep it in our bedroom (until the renos are done) and replace the itsy-bitsy tv we had in there…… I don’t know why we didn’t replace it sooner! We’ll need to buy another tv now! It’s like we were blind and now we can SEE! ha!

  4. Karen says

    If you are thinking of mounting the tv on the wall, check Ebay for mounts before spending $200-300 on one through a retail store/website. We purchased 2 mounts through Ebay for around $40 each. 3 years later, they are still holding strong!

    • Stefanie says

      I got a mount for my 42″ TV at Walmart for $20. I also bought one for my mom and dad. Such a great deal. =)

    • says

      I bought a mount for our 46″ for less than $30 (and free shipping) on Amazon…a couple months later and it’s still on the wall. It isn’t a fancy mount although I think it can tilt up and down a smidge.

    • says

      I recommend wayfair/csn for wall mounts. I used to work for them in that department. The staff is/was pretty helpful with getting the correct mounts because they’re so specific.

    • Alisha says

      What about the wires/plug?

      When flat screens first came out and the commercials and magazines were showing them mounted on walls and above fireplaces I couldn’t wait to try it myself (er, or my husband’s self) but it seems all the wall mounted TVs I encounter in real life are awkwardly spaced from the wall (more protruding-Hospital-room-TV mounted style then flush-to-the-wall-HGTV-reveal mounted style if that makes sense) with a MESS OF WIRES HANGING OUT THE BOTTOM. The wires just kill me.

      We were planning to hang our 32″ flat screen friend over our fireplace eventually, but now I fear what to do with the wires–especially when there is a chimney behind that wall somewhere! Anyone have any suggestions?

    • says

      Oh John and I tried! We really did. But having both been in advertising, it was just too close to home for us. It frustrated us when clients wouldn’t buy good campaigns just like it did in the business! Haha.


    • Martha says

      That’s why my nurse sister can’t watch House. Having to deal with rude, egotistical doctors at work means you don’t really want to watch them to relax! :)

    • Kari says

      Exactly why I can’t enjoy “The Office”. As a CPA I see plenty of conference rooms and awkward folk on a daily basis!

    • Kristin H. says

      Oh my gosh SO glad I am not the only one!! My hub is a chef and we can never watch any of the cooking competition/restaurant shows!! I always end up screaming at the judges on tv. It’s not pretty.

      And ps. Walking Dead was crazy the past 2 weeks!! I don’t know how we’re gonna wait till Fall for more episodes!

  5. says

    LOVE it! We still have the little tv just like you did and can’t wait to upgrade! Now only 1.75 years until hubby graduates and we can buy all the things I’ve been dreaming of. haha! maybe we’ll get a bigger tax return next year and find some good sales. I’ve been thinking of getting a target credit card just because I shop there so often. Think its worth it? We always pay them off each month.

  6. says

    Congrats on your upgrade! The part about the news lady on the box really made me laugh out loud.
    If you have space, I’d recommend storing the old TV to put in Clara’s playroom once you get around to it. Then once she’s old enough to play unsupervised, stick her in there and you can spare yourself several hours of kid TV blaring throughout the house! ;) It’s what my mom did… we turned out fine… haha!

  7. Rebecca says

    Never heard of tethering the TV to the wall behind it. I have 2 large flat screens in my house and many friends/family with them as well (and some with 50+ inches) and no one has ever done that. Guess that is a Vizio tip thing since it came with your tv. Good idea though if it’s low and there are young kids in the house.

    • says

      Yes, it’s safe for kiddos and helps me worry less that if someone walks into the table or something that it won’t tip since it’s so much bigger than the TV we’re used to!


    • Reenie says

      A week or so ago on the news they were showing several incidents where flat-screen TVs had tipped over onto a child….often times killing the child =(

    • Linda says

      I’m so glad you tethered it to the wall – three kids here in the Chicago area died because the TV’s were not secured (and in some cases were also on really flimsy, not made to hold a TV, type furniture). People tend to do that when they get a new TV and move the old one to a bedroom, playroom, whatever…you never think how easily they can become unbalanced.

      It really wouldn’t hurt for people to start requesting/demanding that the all stores start carrying tethers for their TVs.

      I still have my Sony Wega – size is still good for my small living room, picture quality of still great, but darn that thing is heavy!

  8. says

    My husband and I recently got an awesome big ol’ HDTV, but we went a different route. Because everyone wants a flatty-flat TV, (official term, I swear!) those now “old fashioned” fatty-fat TV’s are worth less than nothing.

    My husband’s co-worker bought a plasma screen-TV and gave us his “old” HDTV for free, which we gladly took. Yes, it’s big, but that’s really a non-issue. The picture is fantastic, and it was definitely within our budget.

    And the funny part is that my husband’s friend told us that the picture on our new TV is actually better than the picture on his new TV.

    Love free stuff!


  9. says

    New TV looks awesome! My boyfriend and I have a 46 inch Sony LCD TV in our living room, and we love it! He got it at a “Black Friday” sale in Canada (they do it to stay competitive). Right now it’s the only TV in our place that we use.

    We also have a 13 inch (yes – 13 inch!) TV in our bedroom that I’ve had since 8th grade. It hasn’t been plugged in for months though because it’s just way too small. I’m on the lookout for a decent priced 32 inch TV!

  10. Brenda says

    Given how much TV I watch, I probably should go ahead and save for an upgrade. The TV I currently have is a hand-me-down from an aunt, and it’s pretty small. Oh, and it’s old. As in it has turn knobs and built in rabbit-ears old. I can’t use a remote to adjust volume or turn it on or off. And it’s square, which means the sides of live TV regularly get chopped off. Now that I’m typing this, I can’t believe I’ve never even thought of upgrading! Guess I just figure that it works, so that’s the most important thing.

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