My telly was broken. It had a dirty great line through it. Big thick and black. If it had been somewhere to the side of the screen, that probably wouldn't be so bad and wouldn't interfere with my viewing too much. Tolerable.
But it didn't decide to be at the side of my screen - noooo, it had to be right smack dab through the very centre of the screen, top to bottom.
It's surprising to me how many shows frame their shots to have a character's face right in the centre of the screen.
Luckily, this particular issue was not unusual - there are plenty of other examples of this irritating fault developing on plasma TVs around the world. It is apparently caused by basic physics - a loose connection exacerbated by age and temperature.
I therefore had three options available to me: chuck it out and get a whole new TV; take it to a professional to fix, who would charge excessively and force me to buy new electronics that they'd replace inside the TV; or find out how to fix the fault online, and get a mate who knows his way around electronics to come round and repair it for me.
I did seriously consider all the different options. A new TV would be great, I could get a proper HD screen, but that is really seriously big money I don't have to throw around anymore. Ah, to be back in the era when I was overflowing with cash. And I considered the practicality of getting it down to the TV fix-it people, and if that was my only option I would have taken that step.
But I in fact do have a mate who knows his way around electronics, and he did come round, and we took the back off my TV. That was a bit of a potential nightmare, as there were around fifty screws, a whole lot of circuit boards and mysterious sockets, and a few very hard to reach doodads that had to be negotiated around. In fact if the fault had been in a different location on the screen, it's possible we wouldn't have been able to reach the bits that were the root cause, as some were buried under layers of electronics and cables.
But we found the right bit, we figured out what needed doing, and my wonderful mate Adam soldered up the fiddly part that was causing the whole trouble. With fingers and toes crossed, we screwed the back on again, hooked up the cables, and let it rip.
So far, so good. Three hours have passed as I write this, and so far the black line has not returned. This is a very good sign that we have fixed the right bits.
Though I suppose it's possible just jiggling things in the back may have been what really fixed it. If so, that'd be awfully disappointing.
Time will tell if it's really fixed. But I am optimistic.
21 hours ago