I'm not normal. And I think the internet made me this way.
A year ago, I impulse-purchased a plasma TV when I saw that it was on sale for nearly half of its $3,000 sticker price. I had nowhere to put the TV, and I wasn't even sure when I'd be able to use it. But I knew that Panasonic was set to discontinue its fantastic plasma TV line. I knew it was a killer deal for one of the very finest plasma TVs ever made. So I punched in my credit card number and Amazon sent the massive thing to my uncle's place in the suburbs, where it sat for the past year.
Now, just this week, I finally have space for that TV. The 55-inch behemoth is in my apartment right now, begging for me to watch some beautiful Blu-rays. But no, I must continue to wait. The internet tells me that I need to be careful. The TV is most fragile during its first few hours, like a baby out of the womb. I need to "break it in," they say.
So my awesome new TV is sitting here going through an endless slideshow of solid colors.
Followed by many shades of gray.
I must survive through 100 hours of solid colors
You see, I stumbled across a well-regarded calibrator on the wonderfully-nerdy AVS Forum who posted a folder of solid colors for breaking in your TV. So-called "D-Nice" has posted his custom calibration settings for dozens of plasmas over the years. And he travels the country professionally calibrating forum members' TVs for a few hundred bucks a pop.
But you must break in the panel first. The plasma TV's phosphors need at least 100 hours of use to settle in and get comfy, experts say. The colors can shift during the TV's first few uses, and if you don't use each phosphor evenly, some might stay darker than the rest. During those first few hours, the display is particularly susceptible to image retention and burn in — so letterboxed movies are a no-go, as are TV shows and sports with static logos in the corner of the screen. And forget about playing any video games, they say. The internet has convinced me that everything my TV was designed to do is a disaster waiting to happen.
So I just need to blast through 100 hours of solid colors. That's only four days. I can do this.
Last night, I slept with the TV on, humming in the background. The slides bathed my room in color. I woke up this morning no worse for wear.
I know it's crazy. Hell, it's borderline OCD. And in the end, it probably doesn't make much of a difference at all. But thanks to the internet, I'm worrying about something no one should ever worry about. I don't have a choice though. If I don't go through with it, there'll always be that nagging doubt that my badass TV isn't all that it can be. I can't be one of the unwashed masses that didn't properly break-in their TVs.
So then. Just three more nights. I waited an entire year for this TV — I can definitely wait a few more days...