Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TV troubles

I don't think our main downstairs TV (yeah, we've got one up in the master bedroom also) is long for this world. It is at least ten years old . . . I think, who knows anymore . . . and is showing signs of age.

The color is pretty good, I guess, but what do I know about proper color, right? (I'm color blind, for any new readers in the audience.) But the sound has been diminishing slowly over time. Either that or I am slowly losing my own hearing.

Yet Sunday night, things seemed to turn for the worse. We've been using the VCR to broadcast our channel watching, as it improves the reception on some of our cable channels. And, as a result, the original TV remote that came with this Clinton-era RCA tube is long gone. Last night the VCR remote stopped making the TV work--or put more elegantly, the TV was no longer able to respond to the VCR remote.

Normally, you might say, well, that's not so bad. Just get up off of your widening arse and push the little button that turns the TV on. You are old enough to remember television without remote controls (heck, I remember television with an actual knob that you turned and you saw a backlit number on the dial). I agree that, if that was the only problem, there wouldn't be that much of a problem.

But . . . in order to watch anything through the VCR--including tapes or DVDs, I need access to the TV's video channel--00. And 00 is not preprogrammed into the TV's channel memory (nor CAN it be, I discovered while manually trying to access the menu screen and program it in). So, it seemed that we were only able to watch the TV and the wonders of pre-recorded or taped entertainment . . . not to mention the Wii . . . were off limits until we solved the problem.

But how to solve the problem? Lynda suggested that maybe now was the time to bite the bullet and get ourselves a new television--a fancy flat screen job with HD and digital cable and all that. (And, normally, who would I be to deny such a fantasy?) Still, we are in a recession and we are currently paying about fifteen doctors for twenty five medical procedures that we've endured over the last month. So, caution seemed prudent here. Not to mention, you don't just run out and buy whatever TV you find in the store, right? (Help me out here, its been a long time since I bought one.)

You've got to do some research! You've got to learn all the new acronyms. You've got to arm yourself with all the latest in prism technology or LCD versus, oh, I don't even know what. And what about HD, exactly?

So, here is my plea to you . . . my loyal readership. If you know Important Things About Modern TVs that you think that I should know, please shoot me some advice in the comments below this post. If you have done the research, let me cheat off of you. If you have recently bought a new TV, where did you get it? What is a reasonable price for a good TV that a family of five can afford?


Incidentally, we did get our current system up and running again.

In a stroke of Lileksian luck, I found an old Universal Remote upstairs. The batteries still worked and I was able to find the appropriate list of programming codes after a quick Google search for the remote brand in question.

After trial and error, I got the remote to talk to the television and so now I have two remotes. The Universal turns the TV on and lets me adjust the volume from the comfort of my couch. I can also use Universal to operate any TV channels independent of the VCR. But if I want to/need to use the VCR or DVD, the Universal allows me to get to 00 and it's just like old times. Old times with two remotes, but still, old times.

So, we won't be buying a new set this week . . . but it is coming. I can feel it.

Again, any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Comments are directly below.


Anonymous said...

It's actually quite simple:
1) Pick 1080p, not 720p. Going with 720p will leave you shamed, out of date, and/or bursting into flames.
2) Pick LCD, not plasma. Going with plasma, the fourth state of matter, means you have a box with million-degree parts sitting in your living room, which, if accidentally bumped, turns your suburban block into a supernova.
3) Pick anything over 37inches, not anything smaller, which would leave you mocked and emasculated.
4) Pick anything under $700, not anything over, which might imperil your next surgical operation.

But seriously, that's what I'd go with. I've read Consumer Reports.

David said...

Everyone else, please take note.

That right there is how you post a comment.

Funny AND informative.