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Size does matter sometimes

December 10, 2007|By JULIE E. GREENE

Imagine the children's cartoon character Strawberry Shortcake standing in your living room. Three feet tall.

That's what Jennifer Fournier did when asked recently how big her next TV might be. She now has a 35-inch TV.

"I'd go all out, probably a 73-inch TV," said Fournier, 19, of Hagerstown.

"That's awesome," said Fournier's fianc Dennis High, 20, who added he would like to play "Madden NFL" on a TV that size.

Fournier's home has a room big enough for a 73-inch TV. But for Fournier the motive was daughter, Haelyn, 1, who enjoys watching Strawberry Shortcake DVDs.

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On a 73-inch TV, a full-figure closeup of Strawberry would stand approximately 3 feet high. That's about a foot taller than Haelyn.

Of 19 households informally surveyed at Valley Mall this past week, eight of them had TVs 36 inches or bigger.

With all the big-screen TVs in stores, in sales fliers and even on TV, The Herald-Mail was curious what size TVs people are actually watching.

According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 31 percent of TV sets shipped to U.S. retailers in 2006 were 36 inches (measured diagonally, from corner to corner) or bigger. That closely matches what consumers buy, said Megan K. Pollock, association spokeswoman.

Through May 1 this year, sales of liquid-crystal display TVs 35 inches or larger were up 435 percent over the same period last year and sales of plasma screens 50 inches or bigger had increased 94 percent, according to the association.

Several Tri-State-area residents who had the larger TVs said they liked the detail provided by the picture. However, some said the detail might be a result of the digital channels they receive.

Eve Bosompemaa, 24, of Hagerstown, has a 24-inch TV, but she would love to have a big one like her parents' 64-inch screen. The bigger screen would make the special effects in the action movies she likes to watch better, Bosompemaa said.

"I would have to move, but I'd move if I got one that big," Bosompemaa said.

Twain Mason, 20, of Hagerstown, thinks a really large TV, bigger than his 27-inch screen, would improve his accuracy in video games that require shooting skills.

Michael Peterson, 30, and girlfriend Heather Whittaker, 27, of Hagerstown, have a new 63-inch screen.

Its size is more proportionate to the room than their previous 36-inch TV, Whittaker said. Plus, the detail makes them feel more involved when watching football and professional wrestling.

Joe Pierce, 28, of Cumberland, Md., has had a 62-inch TV for two years. It's second-hand - people he knew were getting rid of it to make room for a bigger TV, so Pierce joked he "reluctantly" took the 62-inch screen off their hands.

"Basically, I feel I'm being sucked into it, especially when NASCAR races are on," Pierce said. He can see the blades of grass and what's written on the T-shirts of the fans in the stands.

"When they come in to pit, you can see the lug nuts falling on the pavement," he said.

Tom Menz, 69, of Martinsburg, W.Va., said if his 27-inch TV were to die, he'd go bigger, but only to about 30 or so inches.

Watching football on a friend's 50-inch TV, Menz said it looked like the players were really on top of him. While Menz didn't think that was good or bad, he said he didn't need a huge TV, just something that fits the space he has available.

Matt McLaughlin has a son and daughter who both have 42-inch TVs.

But on Sundays when the family gets together at his Gettysburg, Pa., house, they all watch football on his 23-inch screen.

While McLaughlin said he enjoys watching the big screens in stores, he doesn't feel the need to get a bigger TV.

"It's not humble to get something big like that," said the hay farmer. "Having something big and fancy like that just isn't me."

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