I had held out longer than most when it came to buying my first HDTV. Now I wish I had held out longer. I now think I want my old analog TV back.
All of this started when I received a letter from my cable TV company to notify me that, in early June, they are going to be adding a ton of new HD channels to their lineup. Now although my community is serviced by the largest cable TV company in the U.S. that I refer to as the Big C (no, not that Big C, the other Big C), we have, up to this point, had the channel choices of those who live out in sticks. Yes, this is the company that owns the company that owns NBC, and until a few months ago, we had just 60 channels to choose from.
Now if I lived in Richmond, I would have already pretty much had the same selection of channels and technology as residents of Washington, Philadelphia, and New York have. The same would likely be true if I lived in one of the counties immediately surrounding Richmond. But since I live 24 entire miles to the southeast, that cable company's much ballyhooed video-on-demand (VOD) services didn't arrive in my neck of the woods until last October. And that's when we got our first taste of high definition - with six local HD channels becoming available.
Being the late adopter that I am, there was no way I was going to run out and buy an HDTV to get six local channels. But that letter stating that we would soon be getting the full complement of HD choices (to include a multitude of VOD movies and TV shows) was enough to convince me to finally make the leap. Therefore, I decided to replace the older of my two analog sets with a sparkling new HDTV in preparation for the blessed event.
Anyway, I found a great deal on one from Amazon and submitted my order. As do most things I have ordered from Amazon, it arrived well prior to the time frame in which I was promised. In this case, I got it in two days, after I was promised that it would arrive in five to eight business days. Definitely no complaints there. Shortly thereafter, I donated my old analog TV to Goodwill in exchange for a small tax deduction.
The following Saturday, I stopped by my cable company's local office and picked up my new HD converter. When I finally got everything hooked up, I was very impressed with my HD channels. I was able to see details that I never seen before on TV, to include the thin pin stripes in men's suits and the pock marks on people's faces. Now I can understand why some major TV personalities dreaded the arrival of HDTV.
But the standard definition channels on my HDTV were a completely different story. Yes, I knew they wouldn't be as sharp as the HDTV channels, but I figured they would at least look as good as the channels on my seven-year-old analog TV. Um... wrong answer! They looked... well... I guess the technical term for it would be... crappy! The images on those channels range from fuzzy to fading. In fact, some of those channels remind of me of certain horror movies I've seen, in which people's faces have melted off.
I'm still working with the cable company to detect the source of this problem. Is it my TV? Is it my HDMI cable? Is it my HD cable converter? Is it something else? I hope I'll get his resolved soon. I really wouldn't be too concerned if I knew all the channels would soon be available in high definition. But many of them, as well as much of the VOD programming, probably won't be switching over to HD for a couple of years, at least.
In the meantime, if we can't get this resolved, I'm going to have to endure that kind of crappy picture on my TV? Heaven forbid. I wonder if someone has bought my old analog TV from the Goodwill store yet.
Terry Mitchell is a software engineer, freelance writer, amateur political analyst, and blogger from Hopewell, VA. On his blog - http://commenterry.blogs.com/ - he posts commentaries on various subjects such as politics, technology, religion, health and well-being, personal finance, and sports. His commentaries offer a unique point of view that is not often found in mainstream media.
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