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Why we just have basic cable …

April 29, 2007 at 04:04 AM | categories: Media, HDTV | View Comments

We got an HDTV last year.  After a few months of watching DVDs on it, I started wondering what HDTV was like.  I tried getting an indoor HDTV antenna which didn’t work so well.  I started looking at DirecTV and Dish Network and upgrading to higher levels of cable with Comcast.  There’s occasional things on ESPN that I want to watch and there’s probably a few things that my wife would like to watch.

But what keeps us from doing that are situations like this.  When my daughters (3 and 4 1/2) are at Nana Peg’s, they get to watch the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon and whatever else is out there for kids.  It’s a little frightening to see them glued to the screen.  Perhaps there’s a factor where the novelty wears off … but it doesn’t seem like it.  So they’ll need to make do with watching Dora the Explorer or Max and Ruby for the n’th time.

We do get some leakage of the marketing stuff on Saturdays, which is the one day they can see commercials.  So far that hasn’t had much effect.  Yet. 

Good summary of why Blu-Ray and HD-DVD won’t take off

March 12, 2007 at 03:03 AM | categories: Telco, HDTV | View Comments

This is an excellent write-up of why I don’t think Blu-Ray or HD-DVD are going to matter.    And some good insights in the comments, too.

The Unwinnable War in high definition DVD « Susan Wu - Venture Capital

HDTV for free without an antenna

January 12, 2007 at 01:01 AM | categories: HDTV | View Comments

Last summer, I bought a 40″ Sony Bravia at Costco.  I did it knowing that 1080p was going to be what I really wanted but also aware that there’s not much out there that you can use <at> 1080p.  Only recently have Blu-Ray and HD-DVD players become available for under $5000 and there’s almost nothing available for either of them.

We have cable internet service from Comcast.   It’s not cheap at $53/month but it’s rarely down, it’s very fast and it’s gotten faster.  I don’t like Comcast but let’s not go there.

Anyway, when we move from Vancouver, WA to Portland, we could get a $10/month discount for having a second service with Comcast.  So we have basic cable for about $4/month over what just having cable modem internet service would be.

We could get higher levels of service and every once in a while I think about getting it for ESPN.  But my wife and I really don’t want to have a bunch of channels to hook our kids. Or us, as a matter of fact.  I spend too much time on the computer screen already.

I kept reading about how people who bought HDTVs but were just using a standard signal and therefore not getting the real value of their TV.  I tried using an HDTV antenna instead of using the cable signal but didn’t see much difference except for occasional glitches in the signal and very slow channel switching.  So I took back the antenna to Fred Meyer and went back to SD - Standard Definition.  Which was OK and DVDs looked very good.

Months passed …

I decided that I wanted to see things in HDTV.  Knew I didn’t want an inside HDTV antenna.  Knew I didn’t want to mount an outside TV or HDTV antenna.  Which seemed to leave Comcast HD service or Dish or DirecTV.  Didn’t want DirecTV because of the service contract.  Looked at Comcast but they’re pretty blunt about there not being any deals except for first-time customers and then just for a year.  That didn’t leave me feeling warm and fuzzy.  So I started looking at DISH network.  Pricing seemed reasonable and I really liked not being locked into a contract.

I was about to put in an order online when a friend mentioned that people in her neighborhood had problems with wind on their dishes affecting their signal.  And we get a lot more wind here than I had expected.  So that decision got put on pause.

In the end, I found a discussion on AVS Forum that was just about Comcast in Portland.  Reading that, it made it sound like I could get digital signals from my basic cable.   There was something more complicated about running one cable into the first cable input and another into the second, getting analog on the first and digital on the second.  Except I only had one cable input … and one cable jack.   Hmmmm.

What to do?