Five times more remote

March 5, 2011


When my friend R still lived here and I’d cat-sit for Cleo, I remember looking helplessly at the remotes required to control his audio-visual Starship Enterprise. Now, it seems, I have my own if not starship, at least shuttle.

A week ago I bought a new television. It was about time for an upgrade in this digital age. I’ve been trying really hard to remember how old the old TV was—whether I got it while I was still in Madison WI, in which case it would be seventeen or more years old, or whether I got it after I moved back to Minneapolis, in which case it would be sixteen or fifteen years old or a couple less. At any rate, it was old, analog, and 4:3.

Another sign of the times, is that the cable service required me to get a “digital adapter.” I’m a little confused about this. I don’t think the actual feed is digital—wait! I just had a thought! 

Did I need the digital adapter only because the television itself was not digital-capable? Hmm. 

Now that I have this new TV, maybe I don’t need that horseshit adapter box that creates an extra three-second channel-changing lagtime because first my TiVo remote registers the channel change, then the TiVo infrared gets sent to the cable digital adapter so that it can actually change the channel. It’s a convoluted mess so that I can still use my TiVo remote to control things. And on top of everything, the adapter powers itself down several times a week. Tomorrow, when it’s during the day and not bedtime, I will have to try removing it from the chain and seeing what happens.

A few years ago, I guess when I moved into this place and was setting stuff up again, I started running my video audio through my stereo, so that entails another remote. For as giant (relatively speaking, going from 19” 4:3 to 32” widescreen) as the new TV is, the built-in speakers don’t sound like much, so I still use the stereo for TV audio. It sounds damned good.

This evening, I watched a DVD on the new TV for the first time, so that accounts for the fifth remote. I was hoping for better visual quality, but I suppose because it’s DVD and not HD, it’s not really going to look that crisp. That’s why it’s advantageous to sit ten feet away. From ten feet away, it looks like widescreen. I can’t really see the jaggies at all.

None of this is important. The upshot is that about midway during the DVD, I realized that I had a bunch of remotes piled up on my desk and I was sort of like R. From left to right: new TV, stereo, DVD player, TiVo, cable digital adapter box.


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