September 22, 2009

Comcast and the Digital Thingy.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:20 pm

I don’t know if it’s a nationwide thing, but around here Comcast has decided to drop its analog signal. What that means is that if you have a TV already hooked up to digital service (as is the one in the room with Mr. Recliner), you’re cool for that TV. However, if you have other Comcast cable TVs, which are not hooked up to a digital box, you will lose a shitload of stations. For those TVs, one needs the digital thingy, available from Comcast.

Comcast has sent letters and made robo-calls reminding users that they may well need one or more digital thingies. As an additional “reminder,” certain stations began to disappear over the last few days. I finally got off my arse and ordered two digital thingies. They arrived the other day, and being lazy and a techno-chicken, I let them sit in the box for a few days, thinking that maybe there will be nuclear strike or something and I won’t have to deal with them. However, tonight, Fox News dropped off the scope on the kitchen TV, and it was time for action.

As usual, I broke out in a sweat at the thought of screwing around with wires and televisions, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. So, I followed all the setup directions and then logged into the website to activate the thingies. Well, it worked, but knowing how I fare with things techno, I thought, “Yo, this was way too easy.”

Of course, I was right.

Everything was cool with the TV in the kitchen until I tried to use the new remote that came with the thingy to turn the TV off. No dice. What now? Leave the TV on forever? Rather than risk a cardiovascular accident, I turned the TV off with the old remote, and I resolved to deal with it tomorrow. I had enough of coaxial cables, and checking for blinking lights on remotes for the night.


It seems the upstairs TV when squirrely when Mrs. Parkway tried to watch a DVD. Mind you, this is a DVD that only plays discs; it doesn’t record anything, so the setup instructions for a TV/VCR that came with the thingy did not apply (there is no coaxial input on the DVD player). After about 45 minutes of pushing various buttons on two remotes, it seems that the problem was not with the digital thingy, but rather the series of button pushes one has to do to turn on the DVD player without screwing up the TV.

This “easy setup” gobbled up a few hours in the shank of the evening.

So, at the end of the day and my latest bout with electronic stuff, here are my thoughts. The digital thingy is yet another damned widget, it occupies yet another socket, it has left us with a bunch of messy wires to contend, a remote that still has to be fiddled with, and a bizarre series of button pushes in order to watch a DVD. What we get in return are a handful of additional program offerings, none of which interest me in the least.

I suppose I should stop bitching, because I’m old enough to remember sitting real close to the ten-inch black and white with rabbit ears sitting atop the box (usually with balled up tinfoil on the end of each “ear” for enhanced reception) and having to change the channels (chunk, chunk, chunk) with a pair of pliers, all to watch Howdy Doody.

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