HDTV Transition Continues

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In September, in this post, I reported that we finally broke down and bought our first HDTV. As predicted, after watching the new TV for nearly four months, I started presenting all of the holiday deals on HDTV’s to Lois, whenever I saw them. I know she considered it nagging, rather than presenting. 😉

Finally, she said “just do it”. Her rationale (and I’m not kidding) was that we’re more generous with our friends than we are with ourselves (generally speaking), and that it was a shame that I didn’t splurge for these new “toys” for myself.

So, we took the plunge and bought two new HDTV’s for the apartment (bedroom and living room). One is the identical model that we have in the bedroom in the house. It cost $300 less than it did in September, at the same Sam’s Club. The other one is slightly larger (47″) which was the perfect size for the living room. It’s a Philips.

We brought them to the apartment on Thursday. While Lois was dreading getting them unloaded and up in the apartment, it turned out to be relatively hassle free, with the help of the building staff. Both TVs were set up in a very reasonable amount of time. The only problem was that we didn’t have HD capable cable boxes. I also had two HDMI cables on order that were scheduled to arrive the next day.

The HDMI cables showed up at 6:37pm yesterday. This morning, I walked over to Time Warner Cable’s store, and exchanged our two DVRs for HD DVRs. When I got back, I wired everything up. When I turned it on, I got a mini heart attack. There was zero sound through the HDMI cable. It had worked perfectly in the house, with FiOS, with the same cable, and the same exact TV. Oh oh…

Since both TVs got zero sound, I knew it wasn’t the TV. A single Google search yielded a forum thread from 2005 where people complained about this exact problem, only with Time Warner (so it wasn’t the box, it was the software on the box). The solution turned out to be trivial. There is a software setting (available through the settings menu) where you can direct that the sound be sent through the HDMI interface. Whew. I have concluded that the Internet is a good thing. 😉

One last thing for the near future (just didn’t feel like hassling with it today). While these DVRs come with 160GB disks, the FiOS one comes with 320GB, and it is puny when it comes to recording things in HD. In particular, with our travel schedule, the disk can fill up fast. So, I bought an external drive the other day that supports eSATA. The FiOS boxes have an eSATA connector, but do not yet support that port (they claim that eventually, a software update will light it up).

Time Warner (supposedly) supports eSATA, so I can turn my 160GB into 660GB when I plug in the new drive. I’ll get to it in the next week or so, no rush since the disk is empty at the moment, and we’re around for a while to watch whatever we record.

This leaves only one TV that remains non-HD. That’s the downstairs TV in the house, which is an ancient 60″ rear projection Mitsubishi. We’re rarely down there any more, and the thought of moving that beast out is not interesting to either of us, so it will be a while before it succumbs. It will happen, no doubt, but not just yet…