Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Adventures with my television

Somewhere I heard about or read about a family who lived in a low spot where TV reception was absent or poor back in the days before satellite TV. So they bought a television with rabbit ears, a converter for the cigarette lighter and once or twice a week loaded the family and the equipment in a station wagon, drove up the mountain to a spot where there was reception, plugged the set in, fired it up and watched for a couple of hours before driving back down.

I kind of know how they felt now that the final switch to DTV is over and done.

My big problem is the fact I've never been intimate with a television. Never had cable. Never had a dish. Put the TV in a closet once and forgot about it for about five years and don't think the TV I had in Mason City before the move had been turned on in about that long either. In fact, I just recycled it before I left; didn't even bother to see if it still worked. At least it was color. Finally got one of those when the old black-and-white up and died.

But I had gotten in the habit here in Chariton of turning on the TV when I got up about 6 to check the weather report and make sure nothing major had blown up over night, then letting it run for a while. Also got hooked on "Antiques Roadshow" Monday nights on Iowa Public Television.

So the first time the switch to DTV was scheduled I bought the converter box and plugged my rabbit ears and the TV in. Best picture I've ever had --- from WHO-TV and FOX (seriously, does anyone watch FOX?), but nothing else. Bypassed the box when I wanted to watch public television.

Then the big switch was postponed, but WHO went ahead and switched anyway. After that, for some reason, WHO vanished but KCCI and public television, both broadcasting both digital and analog, started coming in.

Got up Saturday morning after the final switch and all that was left was FOX. FOX? Yikes. KCCI and public TV both had vanished, moved I think to new frequencies rabbit ears can't access out here in the deep country. So I meditated Saturday about losing the converter box and the rabbit ears, both kind of ugly, and just using the TV for DVDs, its primary purpose anyway. Maybe get the smallest, cheapest digital TV I could find for upstairs, where reception might be better and I could watch the morning weather before I got out of bed.

Then on Sunday I figured out that if I laid the rabbit ears flat and made sure one was in contact with the front door knob the front door became part of the antenna and I could get WHO again. So I guess I've got to keep the rabbit ears for now and stay in the TV business. There's something reassuring about Jeriann Ritter when storm clouds are banking in the west. But I am going to miss that little guy, Brian something isn't it?, who does the early weather on KCCI.


Ed Abbey said...

I am a weather addict and always thought that WHO had the best graphics, presentation and forecast. But it was a love/hate relationship because JeriAnn and Ed always stood to the right with their crotches right over my neck of the wood so that I could never see what was going on. I also got into it with Ed Wilson once when they first came out with their 3D model and would always rotate it so that you couldn't tell anything. I told him it was the stupidest thing they have done in awhile and he told me to just give it a chance. I haven't seen them use it in a long while so I assume I wasn't the only one who wrote to tell him so. So with the digital conversion I lost WHO and now get my news out of Kirkville/Ottumwa on KCCI. They don't have the slick 2D graphics or the forecast presentation but at least they don't stand with their crotches over my part of Iowa. In fact, they don't even stand in front of Iowa at all so I can see my area and what is approaching my area. I don't think I've been happier.

Mike Licht said...

DTV reception is a real problem out near Alpha Centauri.