If you spend enough time looking, you’re bound to find a good deal on a flat-panel TV. Just ask Bob Footitt Jr., of Moorhead, Minn.
He spent months scouring sale flyers and the Internet for a bargain. When he found it at a nearby big-box retailer, he jumped at the chance and bought, not one, but nine generously sized TVs.
Prior to purchasing the TVs, Footitt hired Arctic Audio of Fargo, N.D. to design and install a multiscreen video wall in his renovated basement. As part of the deal, explains Arctic Audio owner Rod Shafer, “he had to buy exactly the make and model of TVs we recommended.” Had he not, he could have been disappointed with the outcome.
Manufacturers will often strip a TV of important circuitry in order to meet the bargain demands of big-box retailers, Shafer explains. So while two TVs of the same brand and size may look alike, the differences in performance can be huge.
Taking the pro’s advice, Footitt financed $10,500 for three years, no interest, and arranged to have the retailer deliver the plasmas to his gutted basement.
“My wife was not pleased with what I spent, at all,” he recalls. So instead of dipping into their bank account to pay for his video passion, Footitt began donating his plasma twice a week. “I call it my ‘plasma for plasma’ program,” he says. “Every Wednesday and Friday I get up at around 5:30 a.m. for my appointment at the Moorhead Biolife Plasma Services Center.”
His twice weekly visits bring in about $280 a month, so he expects to have his debt paid off in about three years.
Designing the System
With the TVs still in boxes, Arctic Audio started designing the system. Cardboard templates cut to the exact dimensions of each of the nine screens were used to experiment with the placement on the wall. Naturally, the biggest screen, a 63-inch Samsung 1080p plasma, would go in the center.
Above it, Arctic Audio placed two 42-inch Samsung 720p plasmas, and below it two 42-inch Panasonic 1080p plasmas. The remaining Samsung units were mounted to the left and right of the 63-incher.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.