WE have this TV and it's become a litmus test for the end of an era.
Home entertainment hardware can be like that. Witness the transition over the decades from radio, to black and white, colour and now outright streaming piracy.
The main question with the current tele is whether it's going to turn on. Or not. More not lately. The price you pay for getting a cheapo TV.
The light shines, the button turns from red to green, but the screen remains blank.
Not quite a metaphor, but getting there.
Persistence is the key and, with any luck, it'll spark up before your show finishes.
Hence, this TV is on notice.
We bought it a couple of years ago, encouraged by the price tag and functions, but sceptical that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
For nearly a year it was way better than the alternative TV, the big old analogue that set the standard for home entertainment prior. An item that remains thicker than it is wide.
But at least it still goes when you press the button. Unlike the current fading star.
Back in its day that hippo-sized analogue was cutting edge too and generated much epochal excitement.
It had connectivity to things only imaginable in the '80s, like DVD players and stereo systems able to flip no less than five CDs and super-fast rewind on a double, not single, cassette player, whatever that is.
Heady days, indeed, when you no longer had to take the cassette out and turn it over to hear the other side of the tape.
Home entertainment hardware becomes a beacon on your journey through couch potato-ness too.
Back then there was the thrill of young children, a new mortgage and all the other symbols of success that suggested in one fell swoop that we were arriving and departing at the same time.
The bank safe-sized analogue was in turn a step up from its predecessor, a back-verandah portable we'd inherited from my parents in our 20s.
Even then it had been older than us, but at least it had colour. We took it at the time as a sign of maturity that we were no longer looking at life so black and white, literally, even if we had to huddle around to do so.
But like all things through the ages, things suffice, until they don't.
Come the kids came the need for a new TV, probably to give the Wiggles true audio visual expression.
It's called progress, which gets us back to the telly that's got us at the crossroads. I'm not sure we'd call this item progress at the moment.
It arrived in our consciousness during a stroll through a shopping aisle. All the right connections and capabilities for all the right price. If it dudded out within a year, we could buy another three and still not be out of pocket. Price goes down as technology goes up was the theory. What did we have to lose, except the year-long warranty? Pretty much the minute after that expired, the TV started playing up.
I did a Google on the brand and found it is famous for doing just that.
We were lucky in a way that our TV didn't die entirely. It comes in and out of coma.
Hence the frustration.
The tension associated with the Russian roulette "will it or won't it go" thing creates social discord way beyond a PG rating, particularly when you're hanging out to watch Dancing With the Stars, which ironically can be streamed on FreeTV.
No matter how many times we pull the plug out and put it in, count to 10 and try a different angle with the remote, throw salt over our shoulder and ooze good karma - the damn thing might turn on, it might not.
Consensus formed the other night when I couldn't get the cricket.
I was so over this lottery of whether I could settle on the sofa and veg out on my terms.
There was the seminal stirrings of consumer action.
All the pieces of purchase were falling into place.
Gerry Harvey would be pleased.
When enough of us do this at the same time, Alan Kohler reports on a surge in spending with one of those wacky trademark graphs he uses that never make any sense to me, which I think in the end is Alan's take on the stockmarket.
Turn on, tune in, drop out is not just a counter-culture buzz phrase.
It's actually what our TV does.
It will also be the basis of my inquiries when I'm scoping out a new TV.
I'll be asking for one that doesn't do any of that.
Each generation finds a way to bag their forbears and, lord knows, I've given it to my kids about mobile phones, Facebook and Tamagotchi. And lord knows they're giving it to me about this idiot box and how I could watch anything I want on my laptop.
But truth be told, the truth must be told.
Particularly in a column like this, in order to a) confess b) gain absolution and c) achieve a reason to get down to the store and get a new idiot box, pronto.
TV will probably be an obsolete concept in 10 years' time. A badge of brain-death more palpable than reality TV.
So I figure we're going to need a new piece of home entertainment hardware to witness that.