The bigger and flatter the better

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.”

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