|'Rabbit ears' antenna for set top use.|
|Outdoor antenna with motor.|
|The Rotator control, which usually|
sat by the 'easy chair'.
|One of the great inventions of all time, the remote control.|
|Yes, I had a Betamax. Just like this. |
Later models had better quality and stereo sound.
I got one of those, too.
And I still have it - but it needs a minor repair.
The cable companies have, for many years now, given new shades of meaning to the concept of perfidy. They have created a world in which the cost of service isn't the cost of service. There is a rental fee for the set top box, a fee for high definition channels, a fee for this, a fee for that, various taxes, and service levels that boggle the imagination. I was lucky to get the classic movie channel as part of a promotional package - normally, I'd have to get all of the available sports channels to get the one channel in said group that is different (i.e. the classic movie channel). Hmmm, I'd best stop before the subject of this missive changes completely.
The thing I enjoy the most these days is the DVR. At first I used it just to record programs I wanted to see but which weren't on at my preferred viewing times. Then came the discovery that the rewind function works for 'real time' tv. Let's say that yet another director let yet another actor mumble important lines of speech so badly that they could not be heard. (This problem is sometimes exacerbated by digital sound recording which can't seem to reproduce music and dialogue without it being either too quiet or too loud. Goldilocks would have never found 'just right', if you get my drift.) With DVR, one can simply hit rewind, raise the volume, and watch that part again. With DVR I can start recording a program like the Grammy awards, start watching the recording an hour or so into the program, fast forward through parts I have no desire to see, commercials, and so on and so forth, eventually catching up with the program's actual live broadcast before it is over. With DVR, 'Dancing With the Stars' can be reduced to a half hour's running time. And should a call of nature intrude while watching a broadcast, with DVR one can press the pause button, go outside and take care of business, and return to pick up where the interruption occurred.
The DVR also records in high definition (when you pay extra for the high definition in the first place) which includes the tv version of wide screen. Now there's a topic - wide screen tv uses a picture ratio of height to width that is not used by any movie company anywhere, ever. But these days we do away with much of what is possible and exist in the land of someone's definition of "good enough".
Now, I've been enjoying the possibilities of DVR for awhile. But last Saturday, my use of it turned into a triumph. The 4,727th Republican Party's Presidential-Candidate Debate started at 8pm, just as my radio show ended. I used the DVR to record it - in widescreen, color, high def, stereophonic sound, and watched it later. If the candidates had worn different costumes, it might have been mistaken for a World Wresting Federation brawl. The trick when watching is to realize that it is entertainment. Taking any of it seriously would result in a trip to the passport office just in case.
Speaking of my radio show (you must have known I'd get around to it) the first half of last Saturday's show took note of several birthdays, including a few of my favorite performers, like Jimmy Durante. The second half celebrated one of the composers of the Great American Song Book, Harold Arlen.
|A young Harold Arlen, about the time he was composing revues for the Cotton Club,|
and songs like, 'Stormy Weather', 'Get Happy', and 'Let's Fall in Love".