Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Future Of Television!

Remember the bad old days of broadcast TV?

You were stuck with rabbit years, a pair of long metal rods connected to the set that could be adjusted as needed for that perfect fuzzy signal. The rabbits ears telescoped so that you could shorten and lengthen each one as needed. If that didn’t work, you would raise and lower the rods or swivel them into different positions to pick up a semi-viewable picture.

And then there was the last resort: wrapping aluminum foil around the rods to squeeze out a bit of gain.

But forget all that. Like they say, the future of television is here! Have you noticed how digital has made most things better? Well, the same applies to over-the-air TV viewing. Better picture, better sound. DTV is the best. And anyway, you better fall in line because in February 2009 they’re shutting down all analog broadcasts. That’s what I like about the US of A: freedom of choice.

Of course, the DTV pushers don’t mention that unless you have an outdoor antenna, you’re probably screwed. I live in an apartment so forget about any outdoor pick-up device, including a satellite dish. Anyway, why should I pay for satellite or cable service (at rip off rates) when I can enjoy FREE TV?

I bought a converter box for my analog TV set and it has been a joy. Instead of a fuzzy signal, I now end up with a black screen with the logo NO SIGNAL floating around or weird abstract art formed by jumbled pixels frozen on the tube.

And the sound – it’s so much better. When the audio cuts in and out, it’s like listening to a psychotic extraterrestrial:


I’ve spent many enjoyable hours trying to get all the stations I had received before in the analog format. No go. The trade off is that the ones I do pick up aren’t fuzzy, they do look better, but only when weather conditions and the mood of the gods are both in my favor. The reception is so fragile, tenuous. The other day geese in a vee formation flew over. One of them farted and I lost channel 44.1 .

But I discovered something of a solution. I noticed that when I stood behind my antenna, the signal picked up but faded as soon as I walked away.

Then an answer from the dark days of broadcast TV came to me, albeit in a modified form.

I took a cereal box, cut it up and configured it into a half-ass stand to hold up two pieces of aluminum foil behind the antenna. An elegant solution.

The future of television.

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