Do You Own Too Many TV Sets? A Cautionary Tale
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Do You Own Too Many TV Sets? A Cautionary Tale

Our columnist wonders what life would be like if she gave into her TV compulsion and installed a set in every single room (even her bathroom).

By Kris Frieswick
Wed, Aug 31, 2022 9:49amGrey Clock 4 min

HOW MANY TVS ARE TOO MANY? While the average U.S. household has 2.3 sets, according to recent Nielsen data, in some homes TVs hold dominion over every room, even the bathroom. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal profiled a couple who have four TVs in their 13-metret-long RV.

Nobody needs to own even a single TV set. We’re surrounded by screens, all capable of streaming “Amish Mafia”: cellphones, laptops, tablets, Nintendo Switches, anything connected to the interwebs. And despite too many viewing options, there’s still little worth watching including, sadly, “House of the Dragon.”

The Husband and I own just one TV and restrict it to the living room for one simple reason: If confronted with a TV, I can’t not watch it. My eyes are drawn to it like moths to a flickering, poorly written, casted and directed flame. If one’s playing anywhere within my view, I can’t even hold a normal human conversation about pizza toppings. My condition helps explain why our home is among just 19% of American households with a single TV. The temptation is too great.

Still, in my most private moments, I have flirted with the dark side. What would life be like if I gave into my compulsion and spent all my discretionary income on a bunch of Smart TVs with Universal Search, maybe one for every room? Would I become a slave to the 4K UHD demon?

Not if I brought intention and purpose to my viewing habits, using TV for good instead of mindlessly munching it like it’s a party-sized bag of mesquite barbecue potato chips.

Here’s how I’d do it:

Upon waking, I would lie in bed and watch 30 minutes of a horror movie to help me level-set my expectations for my day. Anything less life-threatening than zombies or axe-wielding maniacs would be a win.

Next, to the kitchen for coffee. While it brews, I’d turn on the “Today” morning show but mute it because my real objective is to evaluate the anchors’ outfits, hairstyles and makeup for inspiration. The Husband will weigh in—protesting a daytime smokey eye—thus ensuring at least some communication in our day.

Then, it’s off to a training session on my exercise bike in the Shed Mahal, the backyard horse shed we converted into my office/storage/gym space. I’ll flip on the TV beside my bike and select a movie in which stuff blows up and chicks kick butt. Options include any movie in the “Alien” franchise that doesn’t involve a “Predator,” “Spy” with Melissa McCarthy, or “All About Eve,” because it’s sweet to watch Bette Davis step back and let karma—the original bad bitch—kick Eve’s butt. Any of these will take my mind off my own aching posterior for 80 minutes while inspiring me to DOMINATE.

Off to the bathroom to shower. This could be challenging, since you can’t see anything on the screen while soaping up. My solution: the karaoke channel, but only tunes whose words I know. Fortunately, I am sufficiently fluent in the oeuvres of Patsy Cline, Little River Band and Shriekback to get through months of purposefully “watching” TV while wet.

Then to the bedroom to strategize the day’s outfit and stare at a TV above the bureau that would double as a mirror if it wasn’t always on. I’ll stream old episodes of the British “What Not to Wear,” with Trinny and Susannah, women who taught me that lady people with bodies like mine should never wear a scoop-neck anything and that it’s OK to stretch out the hems of overly clingy T-shirts.

Back to Shed Mahal to work. Lunch breaks are all about a brain break and that means soaps. Specifically “The Bold and the Beautiful.” Will Sheila Carter return, again, from the dead? (Spoiler: Yes.)

Cocktails on the porch start promptly at 6:15 p.m. Whereas I once basked in glorious sunsets, I’ll flip on that superwide, sunset-blocking, weatherproof outdoor TV we hung from the porch ceiling and turn to a true-crime documentary about murderous twins. It will highlight investigative brilliance, basically educational programming for journalists like myself. Also, it’s rare to find identical murderers.

After my professional development viewing is done, it’s dinner hour. The Husband and I will tune the dining room TV to a show that sparks entertaining conversation, a rarity during the day. By this I obviously mean old recordings on C-SPAN of “Prime Minister’s Questions,” a weekly hour in the British House of Commons during which members lob queries and insults at one another and the PM. If you have a Welsh husband who can translate slanderous British terms like “numpty,” “scrubber” and “poxy,” it’s the best comedy show on Earth.

Then to bed, where we’ll flip our bedroom TV to a show that’s none of your business.

OK, it’s “House Hunters International.” Watching the featured couples reject perfectly acceptable homes because they don’t like the interior paint colours makes us feel better about our marriage and ourselves.

That’s how I would channel my TV compulsion into personal growth.

Either that or I’ll spend every day on the edge of my bed watching whatever’s airing on whatever channel we were mindfully watching the night before. This will likely involve a lot of me yelling at the set “YOU CAN REPAINT!”

Now that I’ve gamed it out, perhaps, even one is too many TVs for me.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: August 30, 2022.



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The Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index reveals investments of passion are paying strong dividends, in some areas at least

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Apr 9, 2024 4 min

Art was the investment of passion that gained the most in value in 2023, according to Knight Frank’s Luxury Investment Index (KFLII). This is the second consecutive year that art has risen the most among the 10 popular investments tracked by the index, up 11 percent in 2023 and 29 percent in 2022. Art was followed by 8 percent growth in jewellery, 5 percent growth in watches, 4 percent growth in coins and 2 percent growth in coloured diamonds last year.

The weakest performers were rare whisky bottles, which lost nine percent of their value, classic cars down six percent and designer handbags down four percent. Luxury collectables are typically held by ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) who have a net worth of US$30 million or more. Knight Frank research shows 20 percent of UHNWI investment asset portfolios are allocated to collectables.

In 2023, the KFLII fell for only the second time, with prices down 1 percent on average.

Despite record-breaking individual sales in 2023, a surge in financial market returns contributed to a shift in allocations impacting on luxury asset value,” the report said. “… our assessment reveals a need for an ever more discerning approach from investors, with significant volatility by sub-market.

Sebastian Duthy of AMR said the 2023 art auction year began with notable sales including a record price for a Bronzino piece. But confidence waned as the year went on.

“It was telling that in May, Sotheby’s inserted one of its top Old Master lots – a Rubens’ portrait – into a 20th Century Modern evening sale. But by then, it was clear that the confidence among sellers, set by the previous year’s record-busting figures, was ebbing away. In the same month, modern and contemporary works from the collection of the late financier Gerald Fineberg sold well below pre-auction estimates.”

The value of ultra contemporary or red-chip’ art contracted the most in 2023.

“Works by a growing group of artists born after 1980 have been heavily promoted by mega galleries and auction houses in recent years. With freshly painted works in excess of £100,000 almost doubling in 2022, it was little surprise that this sector was one of the biggest casualties last year. There is a risk there are now simply too many fresh paint artists with none really standing out.”

In the jewellery market, Mr Duthy noted that demand was strongest for coloured gemstones of exceptional quality, iconic signed period jewels, single-owner collections, and items with historic provenance in 2023. In the watches market, Mr Duthy said collectors chased the most iconic and rare timepieces.

A Rolex John Player Special broke the model record when it sold for £2 million at Sotheby’s in May, double the price for a similar example sold at Phillips in 2021,” he said.

Although whisky was the worst-performing collectable in 2023, it has delivered the highest return on investment among the 10 items tracked by the index over the past decade, up 280 percent. Andy Simpson of Simpson Reserved, said 2023 was a challenging year but the best of the best bottles gained 20 percent in value. In my opinion some bottles that lost significant value in 2023 will return through the next two years as they are simply so scarce and, right now at least, so undervalued, Mr Simpson said.

Whisky was the worst performing collectable in 2023 but it had highest return on investment over a 10-year period. Image: Shutterstock

Classic car expert Dietrich Hatlapa said the 6 percent fall in collectable vehicle values in 2023 followed a 22 percent surge in 2022. The strong performance of other investment classes such as equities may have dampened collectors’ appetites it’s a very small market so it only takes a minor change in portfolio allocations to have an effect, and there has also probably been a degree of profit taking. However, we have seen some marques like BMW (up 9 percent in value) and Lamborghini (up 18 percent), which appeal to a younger breed of collector, buck the trend in 2023.”

Mr Duthy said a dip in the share price of the top luxury handbag brands last Autumn appeared to spook investors. Last autumn it was possible to pick up an Hermès white Niloticus Himalaya Birkin in good condition for under £50,000. The recent slide reflects a general correction at the upper end that’s been underway for some time rather than changing attitudes to the harvesting of exotic skins.

According to Knight Frank’s Attitudes Survey, the top five investments of passion among Australian UHNWIs are classic cars, art and wine. Fine wine values gained just 1 percent in 2023 as the market continued its correction, said Nick Martin of Wine Owners. “It’s been a hell of a long run, so I’m not that surprised. Some wines from very small producers that had enjoyed the most exuberant growth have seen the biggest drops. It had got a bit silly, £50 bottles had shot up to £200 or £300.”

Favourite investments of passion: Australia vs Global

1. Classic cars (61 percent of Australian UHNWIs vs 38 percent of global UHNWIs)
2. Art (58 percent vs 48 percent)
3. Wine (48 percent vs 35 percent)
4. Watches (42 percent vs 42 percent)
5. Jewellery (18 percent vs 28 percent)

Best returns among investments of passion (10 years)

1. Whisky 280 percent
2. Wine 146 percent
3. Watches 138 percent
4. Art 105 percent
5. Cars 82 percent

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