Oh man did that remind me of something.
My freshman year of college I moved into an apartment. My folks decided the 19" TV they had would make a good apartment-warming gift so they gave it to me. Piece of crap.
It always managed to go out during Monday Night Football. You had to whack the side, just like you said. The only problem was it was across the room.
WTH, I'm in mechanical engineering, I can figure this out. Got a long painters stick, wrapped a towel around the end. Kept it behind the couch. TV act up, out comes pole and smack it. Good as new.
I minored in electrical engineering. One of the guys I was in some classes with had "extensive electronic expertise". He decided he'd come over one night and check it. Took the back off, starting poking around, and I swear I saw the X-ray of his bones on the wall. He got juiced in more ways than one. Good thing he was drunk.
Funny thing was, whatever he did to almost kill himself fixed it. I kept the stick handy just in case though.