Television in the Digital Age

Remember back when you dialed up one of the 4 VHF channels you could get on your 21 inch B&W TV, and then went outside to pull the wires to rotate the antenna? I do too – but nowadays ain’t your grandpa’s TV era.

Last weekend my wife went down to visit her mother – and noticed that MIL’s 10 year old LCD TV was a mess. It had double images, shadowy figures and jumpy behavior- all bad. I checked online and this was symptomatic of display failure. Not worth fixing.

Maria’s mom is 87 years old and mostly watches Italian TV shows. She doesn’t stream video, has no DVD player. All she needs is a simple dumb LCD TV the same size as the bad one. So it was off to Amazon where we got a new 32 inch Vizio – decent specs, good price. In a couple of days it was here and then we were off to Kingston to install the beast.

After disconnecting the old TV and putting it in the car to recycle later, we took the old SDTV cable box to the Cogeco store and swapped it out for an HD model – new TV, no point in watching crappy old standard def shows. I got everything hooked up. Then I had to wait an hour for the box to initialize – which it did NOT do. I had to call Cogeco tech support, then wait another 45 minutes. I was 2 hours into the install and still didn’t have a picture.

Finally I got some action out of the box. Then I had to reprogram the remote so that it would switch the TV off and on, and finally switch both the box and TV off and on in sequence. This activity was slightly more complicated than installing a wifi computer network – but I digress.

After the remote was working I then had to deal with Cogeco’s archaic high definition programming. Unlike Rogers Cable – which just broadcasts HD on every channel if it’s available – Cogeco is still in the late 20th Century. You have to dial up the HD channels in the range of 700-800 and none of the channels have numbers remotely similar to the old SDTV ones. Maria’s mom will have to relearn her channel surfing I guess.

It was worth it though – at least her TV picture stays in one place and looks great in HD. She’s happy. And I am longing for that rotary dial and wires on the antenna.


Published by Ray MacDonald

Ray MacDonald is a retired food scientist who lives in Almonte, ON.
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