Tuesday, March 24, 2009

FINALLY, WE LEAP THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

I woke up at 6:18 this morning and said to myself "it's time". I got out of bed at 6:21 am, leaving Odel peacefully sleeping. Dream on, my man, dream on... he, he, heh!

Yes, it was time... time to solve the analog-to-digital TV problem. Unless you use a TV antenna (not likely, unless you are an RV'er), you probably haven't paid much attention to the buzz about the switch from analog to digital. For us, it means losing the ability to watch local channels, which are crucial when dangerous weather threatens.

Like many RV's, we have two TV's in Scoopy. We have a rooftop TV satellite so, even though our TV's are analog (like all older TV's), we can watch DirecTV without any changes to our televisions

However, we also have a batwing TV antenna on the roof, which brings in local, over-the-air TV stations. When we are able to use the batwing antenna to pick up local stations, Odel usually watches the front TV (on satellite), and I watch local PBS on the back TV - hence, I have a bit more interest in this issue than Odel does.

I have strong feelings about the switch from analog to digital and how it is being handled (very poorly), but I will spare you my rant. Several months ago, we got a converter box - using a government issued coupon plus additional cash - and tried to figure out how to make it work.

After much sweat and frustration, we learned three things: you need a separate converter box for each TV; you have yet another remote, as the converter box now becomes your channel changer; and, unless you get a converter box that allows analog signals to "pass through" to the TV, you will get digital channels only.

To us, all three things were NOT GOOD. Phooey on two converters! Phooey on more remotes! Phooey on the converter we had purchased, which was digital only (and there were no digital channels yet)! Opining frequently, loudly and negatively, we detached the converter box and put it all on the back burner to deal with at a different time.

Unknown to my slumbering mate, today was that time. I fired up the computer and started Phase I: research. Costco, Walmart, Radio Shack and Best Buy - I visited each website. Forget a converter box - by the time Odel got up, I had narrowed the field to four new TV models.

I gave him sufficient time to rub the sleep out of his eyes before I told him my plan for the day: buy and install the new TV in the bedroom, and get rid of the old one. His words: "What??? I thought we were going to wait until we got to Sacramento!"

In no time, though, he was in the bedroom with the tape measure and we were comparing the specs I had printed to the available space. Soon tools appeared and a determined Odel spent a hot, sweaty couple of hours (including two trips to the hardware store) removing the wooden trim frame around the TV compartment (we have very well built oak cabinetry). When that was finally done (which actually involved snapping off a recalcitrant screw), we headed off to Costco and came home with our new unit.

We pulled out the old TV and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry over it’s condition. Really, our home doesn’t look so dusty… but everytime we get into a hidden nook or cranny, this is what we find!


Wow, have TV’s changed in 8 years! We could fit two or three of the new TV’s into the TV compartment.

After that, it was all easy. The new TV surged to life as soon as we plugged it in, and menus walked us through setup. This TV has both a digital and an analog tuner (low-power and repeater stations, not uncommon in rural areas, don’t have to switch to digital), and the automatic scan found several of each.

It’s now 9 pm. The old TV has been dropped off for donation, Odel is stretched out on the bed watching the new TV. Woo-hoo! We’re in business.


3 comments:

  1. Yep you did the right thing replace the TV much less of a hassle. Now I want you to notice the lack of dust this new TV will create. Call me crazy, but, I am telling you NO DUST on the TV!!! By the way that was a great Oprah show yesterday. I always try to watch on Tuesday because I love DR OZ! Love reading your blogs....
    Cathy

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  2. thanks for this post, as we too bought the converter and have had trouble with it since day 2.

    May just do the same thing you guys did !

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  3. Hi from the United Kingdom. Just discovered your blog and I'm enjoying keeping up to date with your travels. My girlfriend and I have rented RV's several times and had a blast travelling round the South West. We're heading coming back in 4 weeks for another trip and I can't wait. I admire the sense of adventure you have and look forward to hearing about your work 'hosting' in the summer.
    Best wishes.
    Rob

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