Well, they don't make them like they used to, do they? I think it was the smell of electrical burning and the fact that the picture slowly began to diminish to a small dot in the middle of the screen that convinced me that my not-so-old television set was about to desert me for that t.v. graveyard in the sky. Ok, forget the graveyard bit - we took it to the tip!
Based on the fact that my son would be inconsolable if he were unable to watch his beloved CBeebies, and more importantly, I would potentially have to miss a double bill of Coronation Street that night, we decided that we needed a replacement right away.
Browsing round Curry's, and trying very hard to avoid the young man who seemed very keen on selling us an all too expensive surround sound home cinema system (in your dreams matey!) we eventually found a very smart, very stylish and very large Polaroid Definia 37" model. I must admit that I had never, up to that point, been aware that Polaroid manufactured televisions, and to this day, I have still not found the slot underneath where the photo comes out!
Before setting the television up, we had to contemplate getting it out of the car. This is a big baby; a VERY BIG baby! However, once we had managed to manoeuvre it into the house and remove all the packaging, setting it up was extremely easy.
Firstly, all the obvious procedures need to be carried out such as attaching the power cord, aerial, scart leads where appropriate, satellite cables etc. to the set. Before going any further, remember to plug it in! In order to set it up completely, you need to remember to put the two AAA batteries into the remote control. For once, batteries ARE included! When the power is turned on via the manual button on the television, the set is automatically on standby and the LED light shows up red. Once the television is taken off standby via the remote control, the LED light turns blue. Now that the tricky bits have been done, just take a look at the screen and you will note that the 'auto install' menu appears automatically. (Does anyone else remember the days of having to laboriously search through all the channels and setting each one to a channel number?) Automatic installation of the channels takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Once this has been done, the only aspect that you need to deal with is setting your desired preferences with the brightness, colour contrast, sharpness, sound settings etc., and again, this is done by simply using the remote control.
Although most modern televisions have the option of allowing you to choose which screen mode you watch, this particular set has a total of six modes. This includes: auto-image; 4:3 normal; 14:9; 16:9 wide; panoramic and zoom. Unlike some models where you have to 'set' the mode you require, here, you can chop and change as and when you wish. For example, if you opted to watch a DVD in 'zoom' mode, once the DVD had finished and you went back to normal t.v., the picture would still be in 'zoom'. You would therefore have to change the picture mode back to whichever one you desire.
As with all modern televisions, this model has been designed in readiness for the much advertised digital switchover, which simply means that digital tv is already incorporated into the set and there is therefore no requirement to have a Freeview box.
Sleep Timer: You can select a time at which you wish the television to automatically switch off.
On Timer: As with the 'sleep timer', you can choose when you wish the television to turn on automatically. May be useful if you are away for a couple of days and you wish to give the impression that there is someone in the house, though a disadvantage to this is that you would need to television on standby. I personally prefer to turn the set off at the mains if I am away for any length of time.
Teletext: I don't think I need to add any explanation to this feature, save to say it has all the usual features of normal Teletext. The manual does suggest that this model does have improved digital Teletext services (i.e. quicker response etc.) but I have not really noticed any difference personally.
Other features include:
7-day Electronic Program Guide
Dual HDMI Connectivity (allows you to connect additional HD sources
HD-Ready Liquid Crystal Display
Video Processor with Digital Noise Reduction (increases picture sharpness)
3D Combi Filter with Motion Adaption (provides intricate picture detail and realistic colour)
Wide range stereo speakers
Detachable speakers with subwoofer output
***And now for the bad news!***
It was big. It was beautiful. It was a really nice television...
AND THEN IT BROKE!
We purchased this television in February 2008. In November 2008, we started to notice a dark 'splodge', about 3" x 3", in the top right hand corner of the blue screen when the television was first switched on. As the picture settled down, this splodge would disappear, but it would then be back again each time the television was switched on again.
We telephoned the Curry's Helpline who transferred us to the engineering company they use - The Tech Guys - who asked us to explain the problem. The engineer seemed to know immediately what the problem was and said that it sounded like part of the circuit board needed replacing. He would send someone out with the relevant part and they could repair the television without having to take it away. A couple of days later, the engineer arrived as arranged. He took one look at the television and, with that all too familiar deep intake of breath that always means there is a huge problem (a sort of inward whistle - you know the one I mean!) he said "Looks like we'll have to replace the whole screen - I think you've got a faulty one here". We said "Nooo, get away. Do you really think so?"
Anyway, enough of the sarcasm. The television was taken away (luckily we had a spare portable - which was very hard to watch after having such a big beasty on the t.v. unit for the past few months). The television was returned after a week and I must say has behaved itself ever since.
NOW, HERE'S THE SCARY BIT:
We purchased this set for £579.99. When the television was returned after having the screen replaced, the service report stated that the cost of the replacement screen, which obviously included fitting and man hours, came to.....£596.06.
Fortunately - very fortunately - the television was still well and truly under warranty so we did not have to pay a penny.
Although the Instruction Manual has a very pleasant front cover (a television screen with vibrant marine fish swimming by), at first site, this is quite a scary looking book simply by the sheer thickness of it. It's only when you realise that most of the contents are the instructions duplicated in various languages. The English version covers a mere 46 pages. Instructions on how to set up and use the set are simple to follow and there are plenty of diagrams in addition to written instructions which should be of great assistance to any technophobe.
As mentioned previously, we purchased this set almost a year ago for £579.99.
Polaroid Website: www.polaroid.com
Despite the fairly major problem that we encountered with this particular television set, I can honestly say that we have had no further trouble whatsoever. The television is very simple to navigate, delivers a good quality picture (though I admit this is probably contributed by the fact we are in a good reception area) and with a 37" screen, it's just like being at the cinema (well, almost!)
I would certainly recommend this television to potential buyers, and would urge people not to be discouraged too much by the fact that we had a problem with the screen. As the engineer said, we probably did have a faulty one and I personally think we were just unfortunate.
Thanks for reading.
(Also on Ciao - matthewsmum)