Archive for April, 2009


DTV Update

When I wrote about the Digital TV converters I bought, I figured I was buying them as a backup if we chose to abandoned cable.  After proving that the converter worked with our spare TV, I was ready to mothball it.  But before doing so, I was curious to see how the picture looked in simple A/B test with the cable TV running into our house.  I hooked one of the converters up to our main TV, got a makeshift antenna to pick up most of the local channels, and then switched back and forth between the over-the-air broadcast and the cable TV versions of the channel.

Result:  the DTV converter offers some real benefits.  Most importantly, the picture quality of the DTV signal is much better than the cable version, at least on our old Phillips TV.  The colors are better and the subtle snow/interference in the CATV signal is all but gone in DTV.  The other advantage is the variable picture sizing, which includes letter box as an option.  Many programs now assume a 16:9 format and are quite annoying to watch at 4:3 with the sides lopped off.  The DTV converter I have offers about 5 different views and works really well.  One important note is the the CM7000 is one of the few converters that offers SVHS out, which is a superior connection compared to composite.

End Result: my experiment led to the purchase of a cheap ($20) video switcher, and I now have the DTV box as part of the entertainment center.  Cable is the default connection, but when we’re watching shows on broadcast channels, we can easily switch over to DTV and get much better viewing experience.


The Peoria Tea Party

Supposedly there were at least 500 or 5000 demonstrators–the local news outlets haven’t decided.  5000 seems high.  I wasn’t there, but I do agree with some of the core concerns, including the one below.  And while I think there is a huge amount of waste in much of the public sector, and that spending should be cut, I’m not necessarily on the low taxes bandwagon.  Thank “I.O.U.S.A.” for that sentiment, but I’ll save that for another day.

honk(Credit:  Blogging While Republican)


Eggs just right

A fun link for your lazy Sunday:

Finally… a scientific approach to achieving the perfect boiled egg.  A group at the University of Oslo put together a nice Flash app that takes in egg circumference, desired egg doneness, refrigerator temperature, height above sea-level to calculate how long you need to boil it.  It even has a cute egg timer.  The best part is it actually works!

Links: Perfect Egg AppLifehacker post with translation


Schock & Colbert

So our local political prodigy has just done a Colbert interview.  It’s OK, nothing particular funny or outrageous.  In fact anyone outside of Peoria probably couldn’t care less about it right now, but I think you’ll continue see more and more of Schock on TV.  Even Colbert made mention of him being “the new face of the Republican party”, and I bet the Reps will keep him on the fast track, unless he screws up bad.  So for what it’s worth:

dtvAfter my rant about the slow take up of digital TV, I feel obliged to tell you that I just took delivery of two DTV boxes.  We don’t need them immediately as we have basic cable running to both of our TVs (which are both old and would need the DTV boxes).  In fact, until about 2 months ago I had no intention of getting any coupons or boxes.

It was only until I thought about just how little TV we watch did the DTV idea get into my head.  If really cheap cable goes away which it probably will, I have zero appetite to pay a lot for full cable or satellite.  We have no plans to upgrade TVs.  Broadcast will serve us just fine if need be.  So I went to the site, applied for and received my coupons, and then bought two converters on Amazon.

Today the wonderfully retro, Bulgarian made “Channel Master” showed up.  It complements the rabbit ears well.  I set up our spare TV to try out the box and I must say, I’m impressed.  The setup was a cinch, the picture is good, and some of the extra local channels are a nice addition (like a constant local news/weather loop).

So my recommendation is that if you have an older TV running on cable, it’s probably worth getting a coupon while they’re available and picking up a box just in case.

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