Monday, May 21, 2007

Weekend and then Some

We had an exciting weekend. Saturday it was another jaunt over to National Pools and Spas to get pool chemicals. I stayed in the car looking to conserve engergy because I knew a visit to Best Buy was in our future. After we picked up chemicals we headed over to the rare Chick Fil-A freestanding unit in Hamilton Square and had quite possibly the largest Chick Fil-A chicken sandwiches known to man. Note to self-- never get the lemonade again. I love Chick Fil-A but geesh, that lemonade. Its so sweet you should have your dentist sitting there with you filling cavities as you're drinking it.

From there we took the scenic route over to Best Buy. We were looking for a new tv. With the whole floor debacle over and done with we've been moving all of our stuff back into the house and doing a bit of redecorating while we were at it. As an off shoot of redecorating we deployed our old bedroom tv and tv cabinet down into the living room and thus needed a replacement tv for the bedroom. We also moved our bed to a new spot which meant that it was facing a blank wall big enough for.... a plasma tv! I have officially turned the Husband over to the dark side. Originally, the Husband was one of those "no tv in the bedroom" people. Now, he actually excitedly purchased a 42" Plasma.

Anyhoo, we get to Best Buy and it's always an adventure there. We headed back to TVs. There were tons of them, LCDs, plasmas. I've had the discussion before with Dave about LCD versus Plasma and I love the whole LCD concept, but at the end of the day between what Best Buy did and didn't have in stock and price points and size we got a 42" plasma Panasonic. We could have gotten for about the same $$$ a 40" Samsung LCD, but we liked the Panasonic better. For a moment we were also almost lulled into buying an open box 32" LCD special, but then when we realized that we had to spend a small fortune on monster cables and wall mounting equipment we thought better of it. As my Dad noted, you go to Best Buy and if you're not careful they'll have you walking out with three tvs.

Next issue-- getting the TV into the car. Why is it that TVs are always too big for your car and the Best Buy employee always suggests taking it out of the box? I realized this is a risky proposition because what if something happens on the way home and you need to return it? Yeah, the first thing they're going to say to you is-- "where's the original box?" Oh, that's right, you told me to take it out of the box and then you mysteriously spirited the box back into the store. (This being one of the few times someone will actually throw away a box for you).

Our first night home with the tv, the Husband still had a lot of unpacking to do and other such stuff so we didn't start the installation process until about 11pm. At this point we decided that we're totally not mounting it on the wall. Yes, originally we had lofty goals of hiding the wiring behind the wall, yada, yada, yada. Then for set up purposes we put the tv on top of our linen chest and what ho! It's just the right height for tv viewing. Of course, a trip to Radio Shack was still involved (as is the case whenever you make an electronics purchase) and due to our stellar wiring in the house, multiple extension cords are currently part of the bedroom landscape to make this whole thing work. Regardless, we hooked up the new DVD player (because they got us to buy one of those too) and what a nice picture!

Yesterday we got ambitious and actually decided to hook up the Comcast Cable box. Is the box HDMI? Of course not. But I did manage to scrounge up some old component monster cables. Hook them up. Great picture, no sound. Hook up the co-ax cable directly to the tv... decent picture, sound, no guide function and half of the channels are missing since you need the box to descramble the signal. Hook up the box just using co-ax cable (in order to determine if the monster cables are bad) great picture, no sound. Granted, the picture on the HD channels was so nice that we spent a good 30 minutes mesmerized by some travel program (without sound) but after a while I decided to just call Comcast and see if they could help.

Surprisingly, it worked. I got on the phone with a representative and told her my problem. Of course we had to go through the whole rigamarole about whether the sound volume on the tv was working, etc., etc. Finally, after a few minutes she started walking me through the remote control codes. With a few button pushes and some cable company mumbojumbo (which was all very Harry Potter-eqsue) I managed to be operating the TV with the cable remote (woo-hoo!) then, a few more magic spells (i.e. "press and hold the cable button, release, press and hold the set up button until the cable button flashes twice, hit the volume up button until the cable button flashes four times, hit the code 9956, hit the set up button, cross your eyes and dance a jig") the volume control on the cable box was miracuously "unlocked" and we actually had sound! BBC News never sounded so good. Now who knows why the cable box and remote had decided to "lock" themselves into a mode without sound, and mind you I still don't have the guide function (which I referred to on the phone with the cable person as "Gee-d", being "Guide" in French which is what we call it because we're weird like that, and that thoroughly confused the cable lady) but at this point, I'll take sound and no Guide.

Last night as a result of having the box set up we watched National Treasure on NBC HD (with commercials approximately every 9 minutes) and the remake of The Omen. I can see there will be many nights of bad tv viewing ahead, just because of the picture on the TV. The Omen was a horrible movie, but we couldn't get over the fact that we could see just about every pore on Liev Schrieber's face (not that you necessarily want to, but it was kind of like a train wreck-- you just couldn't look away).

No comments: