More Great Buys, This Time at an Estate Sale --

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We’re gradually upgrading things at our forever US home. I think it was @bradenslen who first alerted me to the fact that most new TV’s these days are “smart” TV’s. Smart as in hooked to the Internet to make it easy to spy on you 24/7, many with built-in apps, such as Alexa, Siri and such. Clever naming by the spy industry. I certainly didn’t want one of those.

I immediately thought, “Time to buy up some pre-Smart TV’s while they’re still available and maybe cheap.” I can’t remember ever buying a new TV. I was gonna look for ads on Craig’s list. Instead, we went to two successive estate sales nearby. The first had a nice TV on in the living room for $45. These sales are always full price on Saturday and 25% to 50% off on Sunday. I decided I’d get the TV on Sunday, if still available. It wasn’t. It sold on Saturday while we were still upstairs getting a nice $8 box fan. No problem.

A week or two later there was another estate sale. This one had a TV in the den/TV room, but they had disconnected the cable service, so it was off. Cosmetically it looked nice and new for $60, a Sylvania 26” LCD TV with three HDMI inputs, but the remote was missing. I didn’t want it for that high price, so we decided to come back on Sunday at 1 pm, when the price would drop to $30, more like it. We got there a few minutes before 1:00 and were surprised to find a looooong line in the back yard of people waiting to get in. They were letting four people in at a time, very gradually. We stood in a pretty hot sun for a while, my wife wanting to go home again after a few minutes. No, I wanted to wait a while, mainly because they also had three really nice Shure and Electro-Voice microphones which would be good with my ham radios. I was pretty sure the TV would be gone, but I thought I might still be able to grab the microphones.

We got in after a long 40 mins. in the heat. I checked the mics first and was shocked to see that two were already gone. But the E-V Model 664 was still there, a 1960’s classic, perfect for my vintage 60’s AM ham transmitters, now $24 including a tall stand. The mics alone are plentiful on eBay for $75-$100. Okay, that made the wait worth it to me.

I had my wife watch the mic while I went to check on the TV. I was sure it would be gone. But it was not!! Maybe the fact that the quality of its picture couldn’t be seen was enough to scare people off. And of course everyone has a TV and mostly much larger ones than this little 26” model, maybe even smart ones! I turned it on and could see it run through channel setup, I saw the options section with menu and all that. What the hell, for $30 it was worth taking a chance on it. They threw in a brand new universal remote in shrink wrap, we paid and headed home.

Yesterday I called AT&T to get them to walk me through getting it working with their U-Verse box and remote. It took about 30 mins and a manual reset of the TV, but then it came alive with all features working and the U-Verse remote does everything, the original remote not needed. It turns out the picture on it is FANTASTIC, perfect for a bedroom TV. Hey, not bad for $30! I got that little rush from confirming that I had found a great deal.

We had been using an H-P flat panel monitor, not a TV, before, so we had no control over the volume on it. That monitor will now go to my ham station to be used with my H-P Win 10 laptop for easy real time logging of contacts. Life is good!