Monday, February 12, 2007

Winter Sports

After reading Yarn Harlot's blog today, I see that one of my issues with winter is that I don't do winter sports. Unless shoveling counts as a winter sport, that is. I did some of that today, and if the weather report is accurate, I'll have more to do tomorrow. Rah, rah.

I can appreciate the beauty of winter. Dry, powdery snow looks awfully pretty in the right light: it's so sparkly.

Our winter sports seem to revolve around the TV. I watch lots of TV in the winter, and this year I'm glad that we upgraded to an HDTV. Wow, what a difference! I'm sure many of the folks on camera are horrified when they first see what they look like on HDTV. (Oprah, I'm sure your makeup artists are very skilled, but they just can't hide those bags and dark circles under your eyes from the HD; please give yourself a rest.)

The incredible irony for us is how we receive our HD signal: from a plain vanilla roof antenna.

In November 2005, we lost the connection to our roof antenna in a wind storm. We called around trying to find someone who would reconnect it for us, but no one wanted to get up on our roof in the late fall/winter. So, after a couple months of vainly trying to pull in a decent signal with an indoor ("rabbit ears") antenna, we bit the bullet and signed up for satellite TV. (I was not going to even entertain the idea of signing up for cable TV. The company that owns the cable franchise in our area, Comcast, is just plain evil in my book. E-V-I-L. Never getting any of my business at all.)

So, last February the satellite dish is set up and we got TV again. I was happy to have TV, but not so happy to be paying for it. I just don't understand the concept of paying for TV unless I get it ad-free. Then, I can see why I'd have to pay for it.

In the spring, we got a call from one of the guys we'd contacted that he could reconnect our antenna. Even though we had the satellite, we decided to go for so we could have a back up TV-viewing source.

We got the new HDTV in November. We noticed our old TV (12+ years old, and still kicking) was starting to have picture challenges, so we decided to upgrade. We didn't get an LCD or a plasma; we found a nice TV with an HD tuner and a traditional picture tube (very reliable technology) that was thinner than average. (But not lighter than average. Oy, I forgot how heavy a picture tube is!)

The HD tuner is built into the set, and it was capable of using dual antenna sources. So, we hooked up the roof antenna as well as the satellite and tried to tune in an HD channel through the roof antenna. (We weren't paying for an HD satellite service, so that wouldn't work). The only HD channel we tuned in was CBS, none of the other local channels worked. We were very disappointed, and figured that we needed a new roof antenna to pull in HD. So, we just gave up.

After the new year, we were seeing all these notices about local programming being broadcast in HD. So, we gave the roof antenna a try again. Voila! We got LOTS of HD channels: CBS, NBC, ABC, WGN, etc. Our local public broadcast station, WTTW, broadcasts over 3 channels now, 2 of which are HD and show different programs during the same time slot. Awesome!

I swear we're watching the local broadcast channels more than the satellite channels that we're paying for! Hmmm...maybe it's time to get rid of the satellite, eh? Although I would miss Comedy Central and my South Park fix...Maybe after the winter TV viewing season is over. Excuse me now while sign off to go catch some TV.

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