Being a techno-junkie, I often download our entertainment from the Internet, put it on a USB stick that was plugged into the laptop. The laptop had a cable running from it to the television so we could watch the show on a larger screen than the laptop offered. The hassle was the messy look it made in the living room, which is supposed to be a common area for guests. When guests would first arrive, we would put everything in the cupboard to make that good first impression. After they were lulled by our charms, we would haul it all out that evening to watch whatever.
When we first moved here, we were lucky to be able to get a 56k modem line for Internet access. A few years later we were in a district that offered a DSL line. It seemed like lightning speed, that is of course, until we moved further up the chain to a cable connection. It was like receiving an off-season Christmas present. Recently, our cable company introduced a new even faster connection that is as close to a T-1 line as you can get without the expense. The charge with a package deal including the phone reduced our monthly rates by $12.00 a month.
When the Toshiba Satellite model laptop finally died, I was actually relieved. I had problems with it since the beginning and had it in the shop numerous times. After the warranty ran out, I learned to circumvent problems without having it fixed. This alternatively created a tremendous problem. How were we going to watch our shows without using the television? Watching on a laptop screen for more than a week was not going to cut it, especially for Ron with tri-focal glasses. Do we replace the laptop or the television? First I looked for a cheap no-frills laptop that had an S video cable connection to hook up to the S video on the TV. They just don’t make them any longer. Then I looked for converters to convert the S video. A dozen computer and appliance stores said “Yes, that is possible, but we don’t carry the converter.”
I had the idea to Google televisions with USB ports. Thinking this was a shot in the dark, why not try? What I found were sites where this type of TV was in development, but the USB was for music or photograph viewing; none showed capabilities for movies or other video. When we went TV shopping, one of the first models we looked at fitting our space requirements had 2 USB ports. When I asked the salesman, yes, this was movie capable. Fearful there was going to be something lost in translation, we did buy this Samsung model flat screen.
The delivery range of hours was 10 am to 8 pm. At 10:10 am, the delivery men were at our door. After assembling the base, since it is a flat screen, we had 3 thousand wires to sort through after herding, corralling, and vacuuming up a few hundred dust bunnies that have bred and multiplied back behind the entertainment center since the last TV installation. We were able to get rid of the VCR, a technology that is no longer needed. All of the movies we once had on tape are now on DVD. I put labels on every single wire regardless of how obvious its use was at the moment. Six months from now, it may not be so if we need to dig back there again. The TV is plug and play. As soon as it was turned on, all instructions were in English. Score one for the home team. It installed all the channels with a click of the OK button. Within minutes, I had progressed through all of the menus, tools, and settings making it personalized.
The best part of all happened last evening. I put some shows on the USB stick, plugged it into the TV, the TV searched the stick and presented us with a list of choices. When I chose one, it played from the .avi format without any conversion needed. This was my dream TV. If we want to get really fancy, this TV is also Internet ready.
I am not sure I am going to adjust well to High Density though. Every setting in the shows or movies now look phony to me. When you see some of the actors now have noticeably huge pores the size of moon craters that were not evident in regular TV, it takes away from the mystique.