No Longer TV-less

For the past eleven and a half months we have been a household without TV.  That has been both a source of pride and inconvenience and wasn’t so much driven by principle as it was by finances: the TV in our apartment was part of the furnishings, so when we moved into our condo last December it was left behind.

As our “to finish” and “to furnish” lists continued to grow, a TV didn’t seem like a priority.  If we wanted to watch a DVD, there were our laptop computers.  And, truthfully, I don’t really like the way that a TV with broadcast television just sucks you in, turning you into a zombie even when there isn’t anything particularly interesting to watch.

So we were in no rush to get a TV even though we planned to get one eventually.  The big question was, “Where will we put it?”

Our recent houseguest Bruce commented upon first stepping into our condo, “Wow, it appears a lot larger in pictures.”  That’s true: we have just 68 neatly arranged square meters; just about 730 square feet.  And one thing that we don’t have much of is wall space. 

In ongoing conversations about where we could put a TV, there were three possible locations: In the bedroom on the wall across from the bed, in the living room above the fireplace mantle, or in the office (“slash guest bedroom”).  Our thoughts about each:

The bedroom idea (below left) was a nonstarter.  I don’t think TVs belong in bedrooms.  Just my opinion – you are welcome to have a TV in your bedroom.  Plus, if one person wants to sleep and the other wants to watch TV, you have a conflict in the making.  On top of it, the sconces would have to be removed.

P1110687 P1110689

The living room location (above right) seemed the best bet.  We didn’t want the room to be dominated by the TV, but our designer came up with an idea of hiding it behind a decorative screen that could be folded open when we wanted to watch TV. 

Just two problems remained: putting the TV there would fill up the mantle space leaving no room for decorative items.  Also, the TV would be awkwardly high.  From the sofa you would have to crane your neck or slouch way down in order to get a good viewing angle.  Not an ideal situation.

The office location, which has a love seat along with my computer armoire, seemed the best option.  But the entire reason we had purchased a two-bedroom condo was because when we had a one-bedroom and my “office” was part of the living room, there were many occasions when my work and Tawn’s TV viewing conflicted.  Especially when I had evening calls to the US and Europe.

We were at an impasse.  Each of the locations had drawbacks.  But on Saturday morning we talked about it again – Tawn has started agitating for a TV – and in the process of reviewing our options, we hit upon an elegant “middle path” solution.  We would place the TV on a rolling cart, normally leaving it in the office but moving it to the living room when necessary.

We purchased the TV on Sunday – funny story there that I’ll relate in a moment – and now have it placed temporarily on a two-drawer bedside table situated in the corner of the office.  The next step is to search for a TV cart that meets our needs.  Ultimately, we may ask the nice people at Bangkok Wood Company to custom design something, perhaps a piece that matches the coffee table.

We don’t have a DVD player yet, nor do we have cable (or even a cable outlet anywhere near the TV’s location) so all we can watch is static.  We’ll get there eventually.  Baby steps, right?

P1110607 So the TV buying adventure: I’m sure some of this is a universal phenomenon, but I’m amazed at the extent that TV salesmen push you to bigger! better! more expensive! television sets.  After doing some online research, a Samsung series 5 32″ LCD seemed our best choice.  It is full HD (while Thai TV won’t broadcast in HD for several years, best to be prepared) and received good reviews for color density and other technical specifications.

Needless to say, the salesperson was skeptical that a series 5 would be sufficient for us.  Why not a series 6 or the brand new series 7?  And only 32″?  Surely we would go blind trying to watch that.  How could we live with anything less than a 40″ TV?  Better yet, why not get a 54″ model?

Here in Thailand, salesmanship is all about the freebies.  In the US, I think that price is the point of competition, but here it is about throwing in extras.  When we bought our wine cellar, we received a free digital camera.  And when it arrived, there was also a small hot pot cooker, a package of powdered laundry detergent (explain that to me!) and two or three other things.

At the Samsung store, we were offered a price of 29,990 baht and that price included a “home theatre system”, an upright vacuum cleaner and a Samsung digital camera.  Of course, we don’t need those other things.  In fact, the five speakers would completely overwhelm our viewing area and we already have a spare camera from the wine cellar purchase.  If we wanted to skip the extras, the price dropped to 26,990.

At Central Power Buy, the initial price was 36,000 baht with nothing included.  But when we explained what the Samsung store offered, the salesman conferred with his boss then countered with the 29,990 price and a free Samsung 22″ series 4 (HD-ready) LCD.  Two TVs for the price of one.  It makes you think they use these freebies to deplete excess inventory.


We chose Power Buy so now have a 22″ LCD that we don’t know what to do with.  Maybe I’ll use it to replace my 17″ computer monitor.  Maybe we’ll post it on Craigslist and see what we can get for it.  Maybe Khun Sudha will buy it for a reasonable price.

In any case, we are no longer TV-less.


43 thoughts on “No Longer TV-less

  1. Glad you were able to get a “good” deal on you TVs. Going from 0 to 2 in 60 seconds or less- impressive. Hope you can get your cart and cable. Too bad the cable hook up wasn’t one of the extras.

  2. My brother purchased one of those 50″ or 52″ HDTV but his living room is very small. You have to sit back in his sofa to view it. I just have the old fashioned TV still. I don’t really watch it that much. btw – I know some folks at work who have a maid but they tidy their house first before the maid comes so it’s not too messy. Odd…

  3. Though we do own a television, I could definitely live without it. Dave, on the other hand, watches it every day before and after work… while I’m in the other room on the internet. Online interaction is so much better. You’re apartment is beautiful, by the way. Wish mine were that nice… or that clean.

  4. Your place is so nicely furnished! The new TV fits into that space as well! It’s fun shopping in a Thai department store because there’re always a dozen salesmen ‘wai-ing’ on you and there’s always room for bargain!

  5. Your place is soooooo pretty!  I love the soft colors.  And the rolling cart is a brilliant idea, esp. if you can have one made to match your furniture!  By the way, my casita is only about 100 sq. ft. larger than your condo.  It takes discipline, ha ha!

  6. Congrats on the new TV(s). Putting the TV on the rolling cart is a great solution for your place. That was pretty funny about the extras. If the price went down so much without the freebies…I wonder if you were still paying an inflated price for those freebies.

  7. @ElusiveWords – 32″ already feels a bit overwhelming for me.  Can’t imagine having something larger.  I know that experience of tidying up before the maid comes over.  You have to put away toys, dirty towels, handcuffs, containers of liquid…  =P

  8. @euphorie – Thank you.  The cleanliness is a byproduct more of Tawn than of me.  I agree about the online interaction versus the TV, but I do find myself also getting kind of zombie-like with the internet.  It is about knowing one’s limits, I guess.

  9. @jojobaDESIGNS – Thanks for the compliments.  So you know from first-hand experience that living in a small space can be done.  Truthfully, I’d rather live in a space that is a little too small than have a McMansion.  You just end up with some much stuff and so many rooms to clean.

  10. The tv looks good Chris. You should have bargained for a free trip to the US….as far as the freebeis were concerned!! lol . I would have tried that I think; the reason being, I am looking all around for a good ticket to India by business class, and getting humbled by the prices.

  11. That cracks me up, Chris…all the freebies. Why not throw in maid service at that point? I do understand about putting the TV above the mantel though. That’s what it’ll be like for us once we get the kitchen done (so we can move the fridge back into the kitchen and the furniture back into the living room). There’s no where else to put it though. Oh well.

  12. @ZSA_MD – The retail price for the small TV was actually about half of an economy class ticket back to the US, so maybe I should have bargained for that.  Prices these days are really high, but they might drop a little now that fuel costs are down so much.

  13. @swcheng15 – Maid service?  I should have asked for that one.  Sometimes the layout (or remodel) of a house dictates the placement of the TV.  It is still possible that our TV will still end up on the mantel.  We’ll see. 

  14. I could use a maid service…but where would that person begin in our mess? Yes, the layout/remodel does dictate things quite a bit. Even after planning for it, there is bound to be change.

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