Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Switch to Digital TV

I entered the digital TV age when, at the beginning of the year and in preparation for my convalescence from prostate surgery (good news, my PSA level is still immeasurable and, while I still tire too easily, I'm doing a lot more to get there), I bought a DVD player that has both a VCR and a digital tuner. There I discovered that a Peoria resident does not have to hook up to cable TV to get the CW affiliate (CW 4) or the PBS affiliate (WTVP 47) after midnight. They are broadcast over the air using digital transmissions, the CW being on WHOI 19's subchannel. I also discovered the 2 subchannels for WTVP and NBC's WeatherPlus (the subchannel for WEEK 25), which enabled me to discover the very-pleasing-to-the-eye Samantha Davies (whom the Urban Dictionary describes as "smokin hot chick."

The bad news with digital is that you either get the signal or you don't. No more in-between, where with a weak (analog) signal you get a somewhat (or severely) snowy picture. And that is particularly annoying in the Parsonage because TV signals here, even with an amplified antenna, have a habit of suddenly becoming shadowy, especially (but not necessarily) where there is a major weather change. A channel comes in just fine for weeks, then suddenly the signal goes kablooey and I spend weeks realigning the antenna to get as many of our over-the-air channels as possible clearly. It's pretty rare that all 6 analog signals come in decently, though usually I can get 4 very good and 1 quite acceptable with one set up. WYZZ 43 (Fox) or WAOE 59 (My TV) throw fits the most, but it can happen with any of the Peoria area channels, the afore mentioned stations or WMBD 31 (CBS).

The TV stations are also busy promoting the changeover to digital and I have gotten my converter boxes, one for the living room TV (the "big" 20-inch one connected to the DVD/VCR -- heck, it's a perfectly good 12-year-old Zenith) and one for the upstairs TV -- a 23-year-old 13-incher which is a bit fiesty on UHF (which is what all the local channels are) but with the converter works just fine on Channel 3. Except, naturally, I can't get all 6 digital signals no matter what direction I put the (regular rabbit ears) antenna. Well, I don't use that TV set much anyway.

Nevertheless, a digital converter box enables me to continue resisting the evil cable company. This video guide to the conversion is more useful that others:

Meanwhile, NBC is pulling the plug on Weatherplus. But you can watch the lovely Samatha Davies here. Enjoy!

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