Monday, December 15, 2003

High-definition bummer

Last year, we bought a shiny new HDTV set. It wasn't as pricey as you might think, because we bought one that used older technology - an RCA 38" model with a tube - and it wasn't a flat-screen either. So it was less than half the price of what a low-end plasma costs today. Anyhow, it looks great, and we've gotten amazing results out of it when watching DVD's - it's a widescreen set so no clipping.

Anyhow, I decided it would be tres cool to actually use it as a hi-def set, since there's several Boston stations broadcasting HDTV already. So when I was out today, I picked up an inexpensive amplified antenna that would theoretically allow me to pull these stations in over-the-air.

However, it failed. If I want to watch programs in high-def, my options are:

- Try a better antenna and mount it higher in the house - then cable the antenna down to the TV on the first floor. If that fails, I'm out a whole bunch of work.

- Try an external antenna and put it on the roof. The work is a whole lot tougher to cable, with no guarantee of success.

- Get the dish. My set has a built-in DirecTV tuner. However, that would render my TiVo irrelevant (it'd do well on eBay because it has lifetime service, but still...) and I'd still have to cable the dish to the TV.

- Or, reluctantly, go for the Comcast digital cable + HDTV option. It costs more long-term (about $14/month more, as far as I can tell so far), but lets me keep the analog feed to my TiVo and other TV's in the house, and gives me that HDTV lovin'. But, one potential catch: I need to use my set's component video input for the HD box, and I'm already using it for our DVD player. I can use S-Video out instead, but that'll degrade the quality somewhat - or I could get a multiplexer that'll let me toggle multiple component sources. Or I could get an A/V reciever/amp to handle it for me.

Or I could just sit tight for now and stop thinking about it. Because it makes my head hurt. Oy.

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