I was so close I could taste it... that Toshiba 57HX81 was practically on the way. I thought I did everything right. Slowly, over the last six months, I've prepared my wife for the upgrade to an HD capable TV. Everytime a CBS show came on, I pointed out, "look honey, another TV show available in HD". When we watched ER, I always said, "you know what... that 16:9 image sure would look great on a new 16:9 HD set". Everytime a letterboxed commercial came on, I made her aware of it. After a while, she started noting it on her own. I also continually pointed out how the 16:9 TV pricing was coming down and approaching that of the comparable 4:3 sets. Then, about a couple of months ago, the convergence board on our current 7 year old set started to go. At first, she asked, how much will that cost to fix. When the quote came back at around $500-$600, she said "aw, it doesn't look that bad afterall". Still, little by little, while I shopped for which TV and which deal was the best, I continually edged her toward that ultimate YES. Last Monday, I had made my decision. I WAS getting a Toshiba 57HX81 for $2800 delivered, from an authorized dealer, no payments, no interest for 1 year. Now was the time to finalize the deal. My wife has spoken for years, about going back to the balloon festival in Albequerque where she had such a wonderful time 8 years ago. She has continually hinted that if it could be arranged, that trip could serve as her Christmas present from me. So, I spent most of last Thursday and Friday trying to make her wish come true. Last night at dinner, I presented her with RT plane tickets, hotel suite accomodations, Camaro convertible car rental and reservations for a balloon ride. Total Cost for the four of us... around... a new HD RPTV. When she asked me what I wanted for Christmas, you know my answer. Still, I wanted to show her what a 16:9 TV looked like so that she would be satisfied watching 4:3 TV in one of the stretch modes. Today, I took her to see one. I picked Tweeters because their prices were much higher and I wouldn't get the "what's wrong with that big RCA TV over there which costs $1K less?" questions. As soon as we entered the store, I guided her immediately over to the 50HX81 that was on display. I showed her the different modes for watching 4:3 TV on the 16:9 set and she was happy with the differential stretch and the zoom mode. ALRIGHT!!! Thought I. Then, I eyed my 6 year old moving a video camera display so that he and his sister could see themselves on the attached TV. I went over to stop them from doing that, and when I returned, my wife was gone? I found her in front of a 65" Misubitshi set, of course, it was the 65908 diamond series set. She said, "that Toshiba set was really ugly, that grey and silver front just won't go in our family room". She continued, "This set matches the rest of your black laquer speakers and other decorations in the room", And, the Toshiba set sure seemed kinda small compared to this set". "If we're gonna get a new set why not get a bigger one like this set?" At this point, I paused, thinking, was I the luckiest guy in the world? It was not to be. Once she saw the price, she said, "you know... the way pricing is coming down on these sets, if we show some patience and wait another year or two, we can get this set for the same price as that ugly one over there that you wanted." I tried to explain, I tried to cajole, I fell to my knees and begged... all to no avail. At this point, I'm just convinced that I"M NEVER GONNA SEE AN HD TV IN MY HT! I think tomorrow, somebody's balloon rides are gonna get cancelled.... ------------------ Take Care, merc ---------------- God Bless America!!!