Category Archives: Television

Cutting the Cable (part 1)

Like many of you, I’ve been a bit frustrated with the fact that our “cable” bill keeps going up. I’m not going to name my provider since I’ve been generally happy with their service over the years, but now that the kids are gone, the cost of putting the few shows that my wife and I watch on the screen seems outlandish.

Last weekend we were visiting relatives in another city and my Mother-in-law asked me some questions about cutting her cable and switching to Over The Air (OTA) High Definition (HD) TV. I looked at her bill and realized she was paying for all kinds of stuff that she didn’t need. I told her I’d research where her broadcast towers are and make an antenna recommendation.

As we talked about it, I told her that I’ve often thought about it, but really like the “whole house DVR” feature (we have 3 TVs, one in the loft, one in the living room and one in the rec room and periodically play stuff on all of them). Another complicating factor is geography. We live at the edge of the terminal glacier, with hills on 3 sides which block line of sight to the broadcast towers.

However, while I was researching antennas, I discovered that there is a “whole house DVR” setup for cable cutters. An hour worth of research later, the UPS guy will be delivering some “Christmas in June” to our house tomorrow. If it works, my next post will be about the system and my experience putting it together.

As they say on TV, “Stay tuned!”

45 days

A few days ago, the TV networks were awash with the “100 Days Until The End of Analog TV” message. Unless you’ve been living in a desert, you know that the FCC has decided that the current broadcast frequency spectrum is valuable and wants to make money by auctioning it to someone other than the current users – television stations. Before they can do that, they need to kick the TV stations to a new portion of spectrum and everyone is using it as an excuse to transition from analog to digital broadcast signals.

According to the informational commercials, unless you dear TV watcher take action by switching to cable, satellite or internet TV delivery, or buying a digital set top converter and new amplified antenna, you will have nothing but flickering static to view on February 17, 2009. With all the fuss being made, this must be a significant transition. I wouldn’t know…I’ve been a cable, then satellite and now internet based TV viewer – for those few shows I watch each week – for many years, over 20.

Here’s my very own infomercial. In just 45 days, I will travel with my wife and 21 friends from St. Anthony on the Lake Parish in Pewaukee, WI to Piura, Peru. There we will meet the families we help to support throughout the year. We will celebrate their joys, share their sorrows, pray with them, sing with them, deliver food and clothing to their homes, take many pictures and strengthen the bond of Christian love that already binds us. We’ll learn more about their culture and share a little bit of ours.

I’ve been on mission trips before, although never one this far from home, and I know they are life changing transitional events. Somehow I think the Peru transition is going to be much more impactful on my life than the digital TV transition.

What transitions are you working on?