Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Kill Your Television

When the Ex and I split up, we divvied up our belongings without much disagreement. The one thing he really wanted was our big, sexy television. I didn't really care, since I have an old 19" that I bought in college that suits me fine. I have it in the bedroom, but I thought it might be nice to have a television in the living room.

I went to Circuit City and saw a Polaroid 26" LCD flat screen for $749. The picture quality was really good, and since I had a 10% off coupon, I figured this was a good deal. The fact that Polaroid is known for making cameras (or was in 1948) and not televisions should have been a really good indicator that even on sale, this wasn't a deal. I probably should have read some reviews and not done an impulse buy. Once I got home, I realized the error of my ways.

If you have a flat screen, perhaps you enjoy it as part of your home theater system. That is, you hook it up to your stereo receiver and DVD player and whatnot and enjoy the thundering commotion that it delivers in surround sound as you sit on your sofa with a beer and some Cheetos. Well, the Polaroid FLM-2632 is unique in that if you connect it to a stereo receiver, you have to turn up the television volume in order to get any sound to come out of the system. This completely renders the audio output useless, since then you get an echolalia effect and whatever you're watching starts to sound like a David Lynch film, which would be more enjoyable if you weren't trying to watch, say, Top Chef.

For the record, I had shelled out another $150 for the three-year in-home service warranty, and a technician did come out. He was rude and dismissive, first insinuating that I gotten confused and hooked up the TV to the stereo incorrectly - as he was looking directly at the wires connecting the audio output from the TV to the Video 1 input on the stereo. When he said that, I leaned in towards him in what I hoped was a vaguely threatening way and suggested he show me the error of my technologically-retarded, vagina-addled ways (okay, not exactly in those words, but close.) He took out the wires and looked at me nervously as he proceeded to slowly put them back exactly where they were before. After fiddling around uselessly for a bit, he finally told me that "the TV is just made that way, it has a lot of problems" before adding that he could "order some parts and come back in two weeks." He looked surprised when I asked why he would need to order parts if the television wasn't broken. (You should have seen his face when I told him, "Just get out.")

At any rate, the technician's assholery aside, he did at least make the suggestion that I return the television to Circuit City, which I did tonight. They were actually really friendly and helpful, and apologetic that my purchase was a piece of shit. A salesperson even tested the floor model of the television I bought and we confirmed that it indeed has a really bizarre design that doesn't allow you to send audio out only through a separate device. I got a full refund, so I can still happily recommend Circuit City, but beware of Polaroid televisions.


Anonymous said...

That sucks! I almost bought this television, I went with a Sony instead, can't go wrong with that.

Tommyjamg said...

There is a workaround to the audio output issue with this TV. If you have a satellite, set-top box, or cable box, use the audio output connections to the input of your other audio equipment and bypass the TVs audio output. Reason being, the TV controls the volume of both the TV and your other audio equipment should you use the TV as the audio output of your other equipment.
I have this setup on my Polaroid TV with my surround system and it works perfect!
PS. Polaroid knows about this and could have directed you had you called their customer service.

City Elf said...

Thanks - I found this suggestion online (along with another fix involving a cut-off headphone jack) after I returned the TV. I did actually call Polaroid customer service and they only offered to send another tech out to my house. I asked if there was anyone I could talk to just to find out if the set was supposed to work this way, but their "helpful technical assistance line" was anything but, quite frankly.

In my opinion, for the money I paid, I shouldn't have to do jerry-rig my TV to make it work!