January 07, 2007

The Gray Family Enters the Flat Screen Era

Our home entertainment has taken a serious turn for the better. On Thursday, our long-awaited 42-inch Sylvania plasma television arrived, daring us to more fully adopt our role as a human couch ornament. Having never lived in a home with anything better than a 27 inch CRT monitor, we thought this adjustment would be daunting, but after a few days of wiring and rewiring, we're making do.

The box arrived early, of all things, by a few hours, which gave me time to lift the behemoth the 4 vertical feet needed to rest it atop my bedroom dresser (for now). I hooked it up to our new DVD/VCR combo, and hoped for the best, but found that my technical knowledge only went so far. For some reason, the Sylvania lacked a coaxial cable port, making it nearly impossible to project real cable TV on it. Sure, it played DVDs great, but ... um... no TV. No matter how much bigger the picture, it wasn't good.

Thursday evening, after hassling with getting my wife's car towed (a different story), I ran to Radio Shack to find a magical device that converted Coaxial cable to S-Video. No such luck. They said to try Fry's. Fry's was more helpful, but anything they had was out of stock. I was told to go back to Radio Shack and ask for something else. I instead went to Best Buy, and dealt with pimply earring-wearing teen boys who didn't exactly get the situation. I walked out with a little TV Tuner doohickey that did nothing, but only cost about $20.

Friday, I explained the situation to a friend and colleague, and he said I could connect the new plasma with the S-Video cable on our TiVo. I just had to yank the TiVo and cable box out of our living room and move them to the bedroom to do it. So, Friday evening, we tried just that. After a few trial and errors, all was working. DVD/VCR on one input, and cable TV on the other input. Now, our room is like a little theater, where we don't even have to get out of bed to watch ESPNNEWS or check out the latest TiVo recording from our Season Pass. Gluttony and sloth just got that much easier! And the picture is awesome, so long as we don't beg for HD.

The next step? Somehow figure out just why in the world channels 35 to 55 don't come in on that room but do in the other room. If you think I'm going to sit idly by as everything from TNT to ESPN, ESPN2 and CNN are unavailable, you're wrong. 42 inches of yummy flat-screen goodness is just aching for it.

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