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Tee Vee

Volume 2, Issue 10; 11 Mar 2018

When I moved to Austin, I didn’t bring a television. And, honestly, I’ve never missed it, but after five years, I’ve succumbed to the lure of the televisual feast.

While I’ve never missed having a television, some things have changed over the past few years. First, I confess, as the United States slides into dystopian nightmare, I find it comforting to watch Doctor Who, especially of late Matt Smith, save the universe.

Also, there are a growing number of series that I’m interested in Altered Carbon, The Expanse, Jessica Jones, Shetland (well, British crime dramas in general, really), Stranger Things, and Westworld, for example. And I’ve also started to enjoy a number of YouTube channels (everything Brady Haran does, especially Numberphile, The Slow Mo Guys, Big Clive, Tim Rowett’s Grand Illusions, and a few others, including the occasional guilty pleasure of just watching random stuff get blown up).

What this means is, after I’m done for the day, I spend some evenings watching things on my tablet. Which is fine as far as it goes. But I’ve also got this big hole in the wall of my apartment.

[Image]
TV Stand

Ok, it’s actually a fireplace. In Texas. I really don’t understand. Yes, it does get cold enough for a few days in the winter. In some winters. And yes, I have used it once or twice, but mostly it just sits there daring me to stub my toe on the hearth. [You don’t want to, trust me.]

With a TV in mind, I whipped up a quick design for a built-in book case that would fit in the space. A few inexpensive pine boards, a bit of thin plywood, et voilà.

[Image]
TV Stand

Then I painted it. It took several coats. [I hate painting.] I think it still needed one more when this picture was taken.

[Image]
TV Stand

The holes you can see on the lower left are an error. There’s a hole in the top for power cords to go through and there needed to be another hole in the side for the cords to get to an outlet. I meant to move the back of the case forward so that the hole in the side would be behind the back. It would have made the shelves a couple of inches shallower, but that would have been fine, they’re almost a foot deep. Unfortunately, I’d already glued a couple of things before I realized I’d forgotten that part. C’est la vie.

TVs, it turns out, are remarkably inexpensive these days. I didn’t invest a huge amount of effort in reviewing them; I decided to buy it locally instead of over the internet, so I was just going to have to pick from available inventory anyway.

Of the several models that were roughly the right size, reviewers said this one had the best sound, so that’s what I got. It’s a Toshiba 43L420U, if anyone’s curious. I wanted it to fit between the white vertical columns and a couple of the others were an inch or so narrower, but I decided that this one just barely fit the space. Which it does, mostly.

[Image]
TV Stand

I should say, I have no plans to attach a cable or other broadcast medium to it. I just stuck a Roku on it and that seems fine. Oh, and a Raspberry Pi to do a photo slideshow from my “screensaver” image collection. Because I could, not because I expect to leave it running all the time. (The image below, by the way, is the Roku screen saver, not one of mine.)

[Image]
TV Stand

I think it all came out ok. If I was doing it again, in addition to getting the back right ☹, I think I’d have made it just a few inches shorter. But that might have been tricky given the fireplace mantel. Anyway, I’ve watched a couple of things and the TV doesn’t seem uncomfortably high.

Now what I don’t want to have happen is that I become lazy and just slip into watching TV every evening instead of reading or working on something more interesting. Must be vigilant!

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