Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Welcome to the 21st Century - sort of.

In my family, things often have a ripple effect. Someone gets something and immediately others in the family get the “itch” to get caught up with the times. I started it with a computer back in college, my brother did it with his turkey fryer ($40 at Amazon, couldn’t pass that one up), and now the spectre of HD television has finally hit the Geek household. Wife saw it recently at my parent’s house and she (and later I) were (or was) hooked. As a ceremonial ending to the end of a long and arduous Spring term, my wife hit our local electronics retailer and scoped out the scene while I looked into getting our satellite TV updated to handle the newer HD format. Heck, the Federal Government itself is requiring everyone to switch over to digital so who am I to disobey the Government (and I know digital and HD are two different things, but this entire missive writes better if I do it this way, so bear with me).

TV arrived at the house on Friday, and we got it connected Friday night (which was a learning curve in its own rite). I was up until 1am figuring out the intricacies of surround sound (and yes, you would think that I would already know this in my line of work, but home audio and what I do are markedly dissimilar in many respects) and got the low end rumble that all us AV techs dream about.

Saturday was spent tweaking and cleaning and Saturday night the first official (i.e. non test) DVD was spun. Image was clear and finely detailed; my little 8 inch sub was pounding away; and all appeared to be right with the world. In a few days the satellite people would arrive and complete my part of the world, ergo ushering my household past the velvet ropes of 525 lines of resolution and into club HiDef, where it is my God given right to see every pimple on Tony Soprano’s face at a native resolution of 720x480 (and in progressive scan, mind you).

The ushering was to commence at some point between 12-5 yesterday. I had hoped for a 12:05 admittance, but at around 4:45 the guy finally pulled up. He looked tired (not a good sign) as he came in and I showed him the layout of the house. We’d moved some stuff since I called the request in but had the workarounds all figured out. First sign of trouble was the cable run. He wanted to run a cable across the floor. I told him we couldn’t do it because of foot traffic, but that he was welcome to drill a small hold in the corner behind the entertainment center and run a cable underneath the house. He said it was too wet (second bad sign). I told him we’d have to reschedule if that were the case (we have a pier and beam house and underneath is always dry and easy to access – I’ve been underneath myself a few times). He took a look and decided it was dry enough, so we’re back in business. Since cabling was basically there, I figured a two hour install: problem number three.

An hour later, a more experienced installer showed to lend a hand. Problem number four was the installation of a second dish mount on my garage. At this point I figure I’ll add a few aerials to it and grow myself a first class antenna farm. I tried as I could to stay out of the way. I offered beverages as needed and pushed dinner at 8:30. The rear TV was not picking up correctly (this is being wired to control two TV’s) and that caused another delay. Combine all this with my factory remote to the rear TV deciding not to work and dinner got pushed again. Once the receiver/DVR was in place, we began to hold out a glimmer of hope. At 10PM, it was in place and was working (except for one little glitch that they tried to solve with some apparent success). They packed up, I signed the form, and they were headed home. Wife and I sat down and began to explore the new world in front of us. Maybe the worst was over. We had finally paid our dues and would be rewarded with movies in their entire digital splendor and in surround sound (which my wife finally got working). Ten minutes after they left, the unit dropped signal completely and required a reboot. I rebooted and got it on its feet again. We tuned in with anxious anticipation, hoping that our patience would finally be rewarded. We were wrong. Another ten minutes passed and it rebooted again. I called Dishnetwork Customer support: they will have a person out Friday.




Ensign Eddie said...

That's why I did my own install! :-)

Seriously, in a little while this will be a distant memory...and you'll be wondering why you didn't go 1080P.


AVGeek said...

One word: Cost.

I also read that no one is currently broadcasting in 1080P and I don't yet own a Hi-Def DVD player.

That'll be next year.