HDTV and My Blood Pressure

Planet Earth, Screenshot from the Planet Earth Website

Yes, I realize I’ve not posted about the end of the football season, and I’ll get to that. I’m actually working on some highlight video to accompany that post, and don’t have all the source material yet…In the meantime…

Crap. Crap, crap, CRAP!

Y’know what sucks? Y’know what really makes my blood boil?


Ok, so my wife usually watches the idiot box in the living room, and I in the bedroom. Mostly that’s just a case of we don’t usually enjoy the same type of programming. I’m not into ChickTV, which involves mostly men cheating on their wives and trying to kill them but somebody gets terminal cancer and everybody copes. Does nothing for me. She on the other hand, is not into spaceships blowing up hideous aliens who attempt to impregnate humans by sticking large slimy tentacles down their throats and then feeding on their dismembered carcasses. I don’t understand how that doesn’t thrill her, but I suffer in silence.

Problem: The living room TV has been on its last legs for well over a year now, the picture degrading to the point where reading the TVGuide thing or the score of the football game you are attempting to watch was an exercise in futility. The colors became redder and redder, bleeding one into the other to the point where the picture had become little more than an extreme close up of some orangy-red gelatinous substance.

Solution: Christmas is coming up, and well, duh.

(Continued below the fold.)

So I do hours and hours of online research, sort through tons of Black Friday ads, eventually decide on an entry-level LCD HD Television that will both fit the bill and be within our budget. Of course, there are none left on Post-Black Friday Saturday. Store hopping ensues, wherein I pull reviews, stats, comparisons, and features from my memory, comparing what each store actually has in stock.

After much consternation and deliberation, we find a pretty good deal on an off-brand TV that although is not 1080p or 1080i, is capable of receiving those images, has a host of pluggy inny places in the back, does all the things we want it to do, and is priced within our budget. It’s a whole day shot, but she’s happy.

Bonus: It’s 32″. We were looking for a 27″, due to price and the size of our entertainment center, so although it won’t fit there, I can hang it on the wall and build a little stand for the DVD collection and components.

HDTV is nice, but the picture isn’t what it seemed it should be. Sunday, I call up the cable company, having correctly deduced that the reason for that is that although we have the digital cable package, we do not in fact have HD service.

“What do I have to do to get HD service, ma’am?”

“Just trade out your box at our office.”

“…and this will cost me…?”

“Nada. It’s free to digital cable subscribers.”

“Seriously? No really, how much extra per month?”


“Cool! I don’t suppose you’re open today though, are you?”

“No. Our Jacksonville office doesn’t do Sundays. However, if you don’t mind driving to Wilmington, there’s an office in the mall.”

“Sweet. I have to go to Wilmington anyway between now and Christmas, might as well be today.”

I go to Wilmington, trade the box, come home, hook it up, and…

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

Although most channels are OK, the HD channels R.O.C.K. Discovery Channel HD? You haven’t watched an idiot box until you’ve watched Sunrise Earth on HDTV. ESPNHD? You can see the sweat beading on the faces of the players, and it’s like you can reach out and poke them in the eye.

(I promise I’m getting to the sucky part.)

I find excuses to watch the damned thing now. I’m neglecting my blogging when my wife is at work because the desktop is in the bedroom.

It gets better… Monday, for some reason, I suddenly start getting every single non-pay-per-view channel. Like 42 HBOs, 75 Cinemaxs, 34 Showtimes, and best of all – The NHL and NBA see-every-fucking-game packages. I don’t follow basketball at all, so that’s a push, but I GET TO SEE THE FLYBOYS!!!!ONEONE!!!BAZILLION!

Now, I completely understand that this is a mistake, that it should not be happening, and that it’s utterly unethical for me to not immediately inform the cable company.


I am shameless. I watch hockey all week like I’m a crack addict. In between, I rabidly surf the handful of HD channels. (In between consists of the hours between the final whistle of the final west coast NHL game and the first whistle of the first game the following day.)

While my wife is home and there is no hockey on, I sulk in the bedroom, too depressed to eat or shower, longing for my HD fix.

(Here comes the sucky part…)

Yesterday. Middle of the day.

The pusher pulls the I.V. No more movie channels, no more soft-core Cinemax porn, and most horribly, no more hockey.

I consider suicide.

I’m left with a handful of HD channels, which is small consolation since Discovery Channel has basically morphed into The Motorcycle Channel with the occasional Science show and is apparently suddenly boycotting stuff like Planet Earth (from whence came the image above) just because I can watch it in HD now, even if TimeWarner carried The Science Channel HD (it doesn’t) it’s become The Engineering Really Big Metal Stuff Channel, The Learning Channel (also not carried in HD anyway) has morphed into The Do-It-Yourself Interior Design Channel, ESPNHD just repeats Sportscenter over and over in between poker tournaments (WTF?), and the remaining HD consists of local and basic cable selections involved in a conspiracy to show only programs in which I have absolutely no interest.

And just to add insult to injury,

the fucking trashman won’t pick up the old TV.

Oh well, I guess I’ll go watch Sportcenter, eat pizza, and whack off (a reference to some comedian on the non-HD Comedy Channel last night).

7 Responses to “HDTV and My Blood Pressure”

  1. WhoreChurch Says:

    That’s freakin’ hilarious. And tragic.

    We’ve got HD, but our cable company isn’t offering HD channels in our area yet. Oh wait: The signal is there, just not the boxes. They are promising new boxes first of the year.

  2. Lou FCD Says:

    That’s freakin’ hilarious. And tragic.

    Yeah, I’m sure that at some point in the future the hilarious part will become evident to me.

    We’ve got HD, but our cable company isn’t offering HD channels in our area yet. Oh wait: The signal is there, just not the boxes. They are promising new boxes first of the year.

    My advice, freely offered:

    Oddly enough, I can’t find either a twelve-step or an HD rehab center online…

  3. WhoreChurch Says:

    No, you don’t understand, I’m sure I can handle it. I’m just going to have a taste. I won’t get hooked. Plus the cable company tells me it’s all perfectly safe.

  4. Diana Says:

    We actually have to pay $5 more a month for the HD box and we only have a few channels. And of course we can’t watch movies because we don’t have an ‘HD’ DVD. But the hubby still swears that picture is still better even though it’s not coming through as HD. He gets so annoyed when I’m watching the regular channels in 480i when I could be watching it in 1080i. It’s just that there’s a longer delay flipping through the channels and I also am not familiar with the channels in the upper digits! Damn technology!

  5. Lou FCD Says:


    Well, the cable company is as trustworthy as the tobacco companies, so I guess you got me there.

    That cracked me up.


    We don’t have the HD DVD player yet either. I’m thinking about it though, I’m just deciding between that and “BlueRay”. Mostly I’m afraid that BlueRay will go the way of Betamax and VideoDisc, and I don’t know enough about the market to make an informed decision between that and HDDVD.

    “But the hubby still swears that picture is still better even though it’s not coming through as HD.”

    Confirmation Bias

    He gets so annoyed when I’m watching the regular channels in 480i when I could be watching it in 1080i.

    I gotta say, that would drive me insane as well. It’s like watching somebody reaching over the world class pork tenderloin to pick up a hot dog.

    However, the programming on (for instance) Discovery Channel HD isn’t always the same as the regular old bland old fashioned archaic washed up telegraph style Discovery Channel.

    I’ve found my habit now is to surf the HD channels first, and then if there is absolutely nothing on in which I am vaguely interested, I’ll consider checking out what’s on the old fashioned channels.

  6. carlsonjok Says:

    Oh well, I guess I’ll go watch Sportcenter, eat pizza, and whack off

    Well, at least there is a happy ending.

  7. Lou FCD Says:

    Two, actually. I learned this trick that involves the PC muscle and a large monkey…

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