Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

We Did It

May 4, 2009

Erin and I made it an entire week without watching TV… or DVDs, YouTube, etc. As I suspected, the weekdays were not that difficult. The weekend, however, proved a little more challenging. Luckily, with Kristi’s and A.J.’s help, we found lots of other activities to keep us occupied. The weekend started out on Friday night, with a father/daughter date night (which I will explain in detail in another post). On Saturday, I helped Erin create a MakeIt & BakeIt bowl and then the entire family spent the evening at the Waukesha Art Crawl. We also attend Don’t Drink the Water at Sussex Hamilton High School on Sunday afternoon.

I am very proud of Erin for her determination on this project. From what I understand, many of her classmates didn’t make through the week. I have to admit that I enjoyed watching the news again while I worked out this morning. But I also learned that you don’t necessarily need to snap on the TV every time you have a spare moment.


No TV For A Week

April 28, 2009

As part of a school assignment, Erin is attempting to not watch any TV for one entire week. The assignment rules indicate no YouTube, DVDs, or video on your iPod either. The experiment started Monday morning and finishes up next Monday morning. Over the weekend, our whole family talked about the project and I suggested that we all make the attempt. A.J. was fairly emphatic about not wanting to participate and Kristi wasn’t wild about it either. So, in a show of solidarity, I have decided to join Erin’s cause and also refrain from watching TV (or any of the other forms) for a week as well. It shouldn’t be that difficult during the week. Both Erin and I are fairly involved in evening activities on week nights. I have a feeling that things will be a little tougher over the weekend. It looks like a trip to the Zoo or a museum may be in order for part of the weekend. I’m sure that I’m going to get a lot of reading done and maybe even finish up a couple of projects around the house.

Surprising Digital TV Reception

January 19, 2009

Back in September, I posted about my experiences with helping my mother-in-law get her TV ready for the switch to over-the-air digital TV. At that time, I knew it wouldn’t be my last encounter with this technology. All of the televisions in our house are connected to the Dish Network except one. We have a TV in the utility room in the basement. It is an old 13 inch with rabbit ears and dials on the TV to change the channel and adjust the volume (no remote). The only time it gets used is when I ride my exercise bike in morning before work. I watch the Channel 12 news while I ride. Basically, it gets turned on every day for about 45 minutes at the same volume and same channel. In mid-February, because of the nationwide switch to DTV, it will cease to work.

Back in December, I applied for and received a $40 coupon from the government for a converter box. On Saturday, I went to Best Buy and picked an Insignia Digital Converter Box and an RCA Digital Antenna. I have to say that I was more than skeptical that this would work given how far we live from the major Milwaukee metro televisions stations and the fact that the TV is located in the basement. I pulled these items out of their boxes and installed them without reading any of the manuals (I think that is a technique I learned growing up). I hung the antenna from a nail in the floor joists of the floor above. I turned on the converter box and the TV and everything worked far beyond my expectations.

That television now receives 24 different channels including the eight MPTV Channel 36 variations. All of the channels come in very strong. On top of that, the converter box comes with a remote that controls channel selection and volume. Granted, I still have to turn the television on and off by hand, but now I am not confined to watching the same thing every morning and I can even change things up in the middle of my workout. I’m sure that seems like a small thing to many people but, to me, that is a huge step forward.

Digital TV in Milwaukee

September 30, 2008

About two weeks ago, my mother-in-law called on a Saturday morning to ask if I could go television shopping with her. The TV that she had purchased in 1985 was only showing shades of green and purple and she needed to replace it. She wanted me to come along because her hearing isn’t as good as it used to be and she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to hear the salespeople explain the options of the different TVs. We looked over all the different models at Best Buy and picked out a nice 22″ Samsung LCD TV. The kids and I went over to her condo and helped set it up. She doesn’t have cable or satellite, so I hooked the TV to the roof antenna and she was able to get all channels she got before… which wasn’t many. Everything was good… or so I thought.

A couple of days later, Milwaukee television stations performed a digital test and turned off all of there analog signals. My mother-in-law called to say that her new TV wasn’t able to get any of the digital channels and asked if I could help. Because we have satellite, I didn’t know anything about how over-the-air digital TV was supposed to work. I did some research and found help at the Milwaukee HDTV website. All of the local Milwaukee television stations are currently broadcasting digital signals (Who knew?). I should have been able to find them when I set up her TV initially but the TV wasn’t detecting them. I suspected that the roof antenna associated with the condo she lives in wasn’t picking up the digital signals. I learned that in most cases, it is best to get a new antenna created to work with digital.

Last Saturday, armed with a new antenna, I went back to visit my mother-in-law. I was able to verify that the roof antenna was the issue. We hooked up her new digital antenna and re-ran the channel setup feature on the TV. She now has 22 channels from which to choose. MPTV channel 36 has seven different varieties itself. As an added benefit, all of the channels come in much better than they ever have in her condo. The only channel we couldn’t get a strong enough signal for was MPTV channel 10. Maybe they were having signal issues that day. I’m glad we got everything resolved and I learned something about over-the-air digital TV in the process.

Update 10/30/2008 – I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials lately indicating that you may need to upgrade your antenna when converting to over-the-air digital television. They suggest going to for assistance on choosing the correct antenna. I looked at the site briefly and it would have been helpful to me when I was looking for a new antenna last month.

Conversation – Day Six

September 11, 2008

Wow! Who knew anger was so popular. According to my WordPress stats, I have had more views today than on any other single day since I started this blog. And as a plus, I have had more comments today as well. Even though it seems like controversial topics are more popular, I think today we should talk about all-time favorite TV shows. Prior to having kids, watching TV was the thing I did the most outside of work. That sure is a sad statement on my early adult years. Anyway, because of that, some of my picks are going to be several years old.

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: I have always been a big Sci-Fi fan and this was my favorite of all the Sci-Fi shows. This series began just after I entered the Marine Corps and I remember that a bunch of us new Lieutenants huddled around a small TV in one of our rooms and watched the very first episode. We were amazed that they had a Klingon on the crew and a woman as the head of security. Over the years, it got better and better. None of the Star Trek series that followed were ever as good to me.
  • The Amazing Race: Kristi and I have really enjoyed watching this over the last few years. It is the only reality show that I can stand. I love to see the places that they visit and it is wildly funny to watch how the teams break down so quickly when their stress levels rise.
  • Firefly: I know this is only a couple years old and only lasted for a short time but it was very entertaining. It is a cross between Sci-Fi space drama and Gunsmoke-style western. The characters are so well done. The love/hate relationship that plays out between many of the characters really draws you in.
  • Remington Steele: This was the first major venue for Pierce Brosnan and he was so good in it. It had a delightful cast and the storylines were always good.
  • The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart: Both shows were amazingly funny. Bob has that deadpan humor that is so funny. I can still quote lines from many of the episodes.
  • M*A*S*H, Happy Days, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Cheers, Wings, and Family Ties: These are all shows from my youth or early adult years that I really enjoyed. I was a tremendous fan of the half-hour sitcom. I couldn’t get enough of them.
  • So what are your favorite all-time TV shows?