Wednesday, November 23, 2005
The New TV
Last week our old TV set gave up the ghost. In the morning it was just fine. In the afternoon, the picture disappeared. We figured that after 18 years or so, it was time for a new TV anyway, so we went out and bought a Samsung HD-ready LCD set. It's like the one on the right.
After we brought it home, the fun started. Well, it was fun for Judy, who got to watch me set it up. And listen to me. It was necessary to say a few magic words to get things just right. I finally got the cable box, DVD, and VCR hooked to the TV, which was working fine. I couldn't say the same for the DVD, however. We could get a picture, but no sound. It was a crummy picture, too.
By then it was bedtime, so I gave up for the night. The next day, after a few more experiments with the mare's nest of cables, I got things right. All was well. Except, of course, that there was no HD because we didn't have an HD cable box. I called the cable company, and they told me that they'd bring out a new box and install it for a mere $49.95. And they'd be here in only two weeks.
I didn't want to wait, so I asked if I could just get the box and install it myself. Too complicated for boob like you, I was told, or words to that effect, so I set up an appointment. Yesterday, however, I decided to e-mail the company and ask again. The reply said, "Sure, you can do it yourself. It's a snap. Come pick up a box."
So I drove to the nearest cable office in Texas City (15 miles), got the box, brought it home and got ready to go. I called the tech person, and she walked me through the installation. No picture, no sound. After an hour and a half on the phone with the tech, switching cables here and there, plugging and unplugging, etc., I threw in the towel.
The tech said the box was clearly faulty. I drove back to Texas City. Got a new box. Came home, called the help line and got the tech person (a different one, of course). I said, "I have brand new HD box here. I haven't done a thing. Walk me through the installation, step by step." So she did. Guess what. Same result exactly. Changed wires, did this, did that, all the stuff I did the first time, with the same outcome. Then she said, "Have you installed the component cables?" Well, no, nobody mentioned those. It would have been nice if someone had, since the person in Texas City had told me I wouldn't need them. Got those installed.
By golly, it worked. All was well. Did my little victory dance. Started watching TV. Discovered that I could no longer get anything but 16:9 and 4:3 pictures. All else is unavailable. No panorama, no Zoom 1, no Zoom 2. Back on the phone. Got the tech support. Sure enough, the woman (different person from the other two) tells me that those are now the only two options. No more Zoom 1, Zoom 2, or Panorama. Dang. The cable box chooses my picture size. Life sucks. But at least I saved 50 bucks and didn't have the cable guy come out.
(Next time, I'm having the cable guy.)