Men like TVs. Men like to compete. And when it comes to screen size, the guy with the most inches always wins.
“When one of my clients with a 50-inch TV found out that his friend just got a 55, he wanted a 60,” says Keith Breeden, owner of Home Theater Design. “In this town, you don’t go smaller than 42 inches.”
TV writer Dave Goetsch — owner of a 55-incher that he and his wife lovingly call “flatty” — agrees. When he decided to upgrade to a Sony flatscreen last spring, he found the 42-inch television to be “embarrassingly small.” The fact that a TV is a tax writeoff for him only increased his desire to go bigger. “There’s always an unspoken issue about size, too,” he says.
Come December, Goetsch may feel a bit insecure about “flatty.” Panasonic plans to unveil a 103-inch HDTV just in time for Christmas, a 450-pound behemoth that rivals a queen-sized bed in width and length. Reportedly, Mark Cuban wants one; NBC already bought two to use as backdrops for “Sunday Night Football.”
“There are millionaires in New York City who don’t have the space for it,” says Jeff Cove, a VP at Panasonic. “People in Hollywood have big houses.”
Executives have big offices, too. “We just spent a lot of money on flatscreens because you have to have one as a management company in this industry,” says Dave Rath, a principal of new-media collective Generate. After much ballyhoo over size, the firm decided on 34- and 55-inch TVs. (Apparently, a Hollywood conference room without a well-hung flatscreen is as low rent as a kitchen without a water cooler.)
However, not every guy feels the pressure to supersize his entertainment center. “If I need to see it on a screen bigger than 50 inches, I’ll go to the movies,” says actor Hill Harper, who is very secure with his 42-incher. “Wait. It might be 48 inches. I’ve never measured it.”