liz_marcs (liz_marcs) wrote,

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In which my TV outsmarts my VCR (and I'm forced to pony up for a DVR...)

I've been AWOL in large part due to work. I.e., 12-hour days for all!

I can't actually complain since the bosses are actually putting in 18-hour days themselves.

The good news, the work spigots are opening up, which means better job security for those of us who managed to hold on to our jobs through this mess. The bad news is the economy is still jumpy enough that no one's hiring anyone anywhere near as I can tell.

Right now, I'm feeling a bit burned out.

Which means that there hasn't been a whole lot of TV watching goin' on. At least, not live TV watching. So, I cue up the VCR (which I admittedly haven't used since my fam went half-sies with me on a new TV for my B-day last year to replace my soon-to-be useless 16-year-old TV).

*takes deep breath*

Do you know what happens when you attempt to watch a VCR tape on an HD, flat-screen TV that was rated a Consumer Report's best buy because it's good quality for relatively cheap?

You can actually see the movement of the VCR tape on screen. We're talking jump-y, fuzzy, skipping pictures because the TV — which is in some respects smarter than the average bear — is just not having it.

I had a headache in 5 minutes of even trying.

And so, technology has kicked me in the ass. I was forced to upgrade since not everything I want to watch is streamed online (how I've been watching Glee) or available on-demand from Verizon (how I kept up with Kings).

So...I bowed to the inevitable. I decided to swap my run-of-the-mill cable box for a DVR cable box. And since Verizon does so love holding a gun to your head, I've got to live with an HD DVR cable box.

*puffs breath*

Fine. I don't like the extra cost that goes with HD, but fine. As it turns out, thanks to a whole bunch more discounts Verizon decided to throw at me, plus my canceling of a premium service that I wasn't really watching anyway, my Verizon bill only got bumped up $4.

Then Verizon pulls a dope move. I get to install the box myself. I don't have a problem with self-installation because I'm pretty good hooking up electronics. No. My problem is they delivered this HD DVR cable box to my front door and left it outside my front door. They left it there all day, giving any naked ape a clear shot at grabbing this oversized box for themselves.

Okay, no one did, but c'mon. Human nature being what it is, I'm shocked that the box didn't sprout legs and walk away.

So, in any case, I now have an HD DVR thingie, which is kind of cool. However, Verizon managed to be boneheads again and not include instructions on how to operate the damn thing. I pretty much figured it out on my own the basics, but I have no idea how many hours can be stored on the thing or what channels I actually can access (it appears I've got a mess of HD channels that I didn't have before...and they don't necessarily match up with the channels I've got on regular cable), or...or...or...

So, anyway, I tested the thing last night, and I've been playing with it half the day to figure out what I can and cannot do. (Checks clock and swears profusely about how I wasted my day.) I kind of like the fact that I can do the delayed watching maneuver so I can fast-forward through commercials.

Of course, this is where you figure out how many commercials there are stuffed in your average hour of TeeVee. For example, do you know that a single Burn Notice episode has 17 minutes of commercials? I did not know that before I started watching it on a 20-minute delay and almost caught up to the live stream on the USA HD channel.


Also, watching Burn Notice on HD you notice a lot of tiny things. Like how Bruce Campbell looks entirely too healthy underneath his character make-up to play a washed up intelligence operative with a serious alcohol intake, how Gabrielle Anwar has really lousy skin, and Jeffrey Donovan manages to look pretty rat-like (or rather, more so). You also notice that Sharon Gless (God bless the Gless!) does not do plastic surgery and she looks all the more awesome for it.

Yes, I watch Burn Notice for Campbell and Gless. Now I'll actually be able to watch it regularly because the DVR's memory is better than mine.

*ponders that a bit*

Shit. I've got a piece of television equipment that's smarter than I am.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to run off to the Verizon storefront to shove my old cable box into their hands, and to give them hell about how the HD DVR was delivered.

Maybe if I'm lucky, they'll have DVR operating instructions instead of the nonsensical Q&A on the Verizon Web site that manages to go on for pages without being at all informative.

If I'm really lucky, they'll be able to tell me what channels I actually have, because I'll be damned if I can make heads or tales of it. The on-line list doesn't seem anywhere near complete, because, seriously, what the hell is the "Create" channel and why is it randomly set in the 500 block of channels? Although the HD Movie Channel is kind of cool, where the hell does it even come from? Because I haven't been able to find evidence it actually exists, beyond the fact that it's streaming through Verizon FIOS to my TeeVee even as we speak.

*throws up hands*

Technology! It's enough to make you want to go Luddite. I shouldn't have to think this hard about my entertainment choices, damn it!

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