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

    Yay! About darn time, lol.
    It looks so much better, and the room looks more balanced. We actually mounted our tv over our fireplace a few months ago and love it!

    Awesome deal too!
    We have 2 big flat screens.
    1 42 in. which we got off ebay for $400 about 4 years ago and my boyfriend’s co-worker gave us his 46 in. for free because it was no longer working, we took it in, and my boyfriend fixed it! So we got a $400+ tv for free :)

    I didn’t know you guys were Walking Dead fans, that’s awesome! I can’t wait until Season 3. I just wish a zombie would eat Lori & Carl already though. :-X

  2. Danae says

    My husband and I just upgraded our tv too! And from Target no less! We went with the 55″ plasma they had on sale for an AMAZING price and loooooooooooooove it – our previous tv was an old-school one that he had had since college, so this was a major upgrade. Glad we aren’t the only ones who took the plunge in March – it feels like such a random time to buy a tv, no?

  3. Jane says

    Woo to hoo guys!! I am telling you once you are hooked to a larger screen, theres no turning back. You are going to love it.

  4. Danielle says

    I have to say I’m surprised you two didn’t go for an LED television, which is the same as an LCD television lit by LED lights instead of incandescent lights, considering how much less power they use and how eco-friendly you like to be!

    Then again I guess you’ve used incandescent light bulbs in places throughout your house too. . .

    • says

      This TV is also an energy saving/eco version, and was about half the price of the LED ones we saw, and just costs $17 a year to run, so it’s very low on the energy-use scale (the lowest we saw was $15 on an LED one). It’s a balance with us. We compost, use cloth diapers, have a rain barrel, drive one car, recycle, use CFLs, and have all energy star appliances, but we don’t eat all organic or wear all organic clothes, since we can’t afford to. So it’s really just a give and take with us, where we try to be as green as we can within our budget!


  5. says

    I think it would have been a wiser decision to go with the Samsung even for the extra price. Samsung’s are made with high quality materials and have a much better picture quality. Although I have a feeling picture quality isn’t a huge concern for you.
    Ikea has a pretty cheap and awesome wall mount we use with our 42 inch samsung! 14.99$ I think.

  6. says

    Man, I love Cougar Town. I wish more people watched it. All of my friends refuse to believe that it’s not just a show about cougars. And I definitely approve of your upgrade:)

  7. JR says

    We did upgrade to a Samsung LED 40″ from a Sony LCD a few months back… bad Sony experience, it was dying on us. Cool upgrade though… enjoy your new TV.

  8. Thais Bessa says

    We also have a 26 TV that was fine in our flat in London, but certainly looks ridiculous in the new house. It is wall mounted because the idea of a TV falling on our daughter creeps me out. I had never seen this wire thing, it seems very safe too! But I guess we will stick to wall mounted, it is so comfortable to watch as our bracket swivels and tilts, pleasing everyone. Not to mention not worrying at all about TVs + kiddos.

  9. says

    Psh, my husband went to “look” at tv’s one came home to tell me he bought a 52″ flatscreen, PS3 and surround sound. He isn’t allowed in Best Buy alone anymore but I absolutely love all of it. Walking Dead season finale was AWESOME!! Walkers on a leash, what?!!

  10. says

    Congrats on the new TV!!

    If you guys end up mounting it, I would highly recommend the Philips Simply Straight Wall Mount. My fiancee and I live in an older house (early 1900’s) and we use it to mount our 32″ bedroom television. It was easy to attach to the wall and the television feels very secure, even after putting a little pressure on it, it doesn’t move at all. You can semi see it in action here, excuse our mess of wires and the sunflowers I brought home.

  11. Kristen Swift says

    Congrats on the new TV. Good to know the prices are the lowest in February and March. My husband has been wanting an HDTV for the “man cave” in the basement that’s in serious need of a makeover…maybe the promise of that new TV will be motivation for us (or him) to paint and organize in order to get the man cave officially set up.

    Also, you two have great choices in TV :) My husband and I are obsessed with Modern Family, Awake, the Voice, and I love Bethenny Ever After (can’t get him to watch it!)

  12. Jill says

    I absolutely love this post because we went through the same thing a couple of months ago. My husband and I had a 19″ flat screen in our living room. Of course we wanted a bigger TV, but there always seemed to be something else we needed more. Well after much ridicule from our family, friends, and even the cable guy (it’s really sad when the cable guy comments that our 19″ was the smallest TV he has ever seen in a living room) we decided to upgrade. We also went with the Vizio, but opted for the 55″. We have really enjoyed it! We can actually see who has the ball when we are watching basketball on TV now!!! Congrats on your new TV!

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