TVs are getting bigger. / SUR

The best solution will not be televised

PETER EDGERTON / WWW.E-PETER.COM

Pootling through a large department store the other day, on my way to buy something of little consequence, I happened upon their extensive audio-visual department. 'Blimey,' I thought 'that's one humungous television' as I passed by a screen roughly the size of Malaga cathedral. I briefly wondered if it might be the biggest TV in the world. It wasn't. Just around the corner there was another one that looked like it could emit a documentary about Ben Nevis, showing the mountain at its actual size.

Lots of questions occurred to me, not least of which was which poor soul has to deliver these things? I concluded there must be specialised equipment involved but then decided not to waste my day pondering the relative merits of televisions and gave it no more thought. For a while. And then I started thinking about them again. Why do we need such gigantic screens? Is it not possible to enjoy a football match without indulging in the dubious delights of a detailed view of the players' nostril hair? How high can high definition be? How high do we want high definition to be? What is it in our impoverished psyches we're trying to compensate for? Then I got bored again and thought about going on a date with Natalie Imbruglia or something.

Last night I was forced to return to the great TV questions when a tourist enquired about the football down at the pub.

'Will you be showing the Barcelona match tomorrow?'

'Yes, sirree.'

'Which TV will it be on?' (We have two: one big – or at least I thought so until this week – and another one a bit smaller).

'I'm not sure – it depends how many people arrive for each of the two matches we'll be showing.'

His reply, which was a sort of muffled grunt, suggested I'd just clubbed him about the chops with a baseball bat.

'I want to watch Barcelona on the big screen.' (He sounded about twelve years old at this point and I expected a sulky pout and a trembling bottom lip which never actually arrived but they were definitely in there somewhere).

This is where things got interesting. I explained that if you sat close to the smaller telly it was actually bigger than the big telly if you watched that one from a distance (which is often necessary if it gets crowded). After a short pause and his eyes had ceased to swivel on their own axis, he nodded, scratched his head and left without so much as a by-your-leave. I'm not sure if he'll come for the match tonight but I do hope he starts sitting closer to his little TV at home. It looks bigger from there.