30 November 2008

I’m Finally Digital

TV, that is… I don’t watch much TV, but for at least two years I’ve been eying the impending switch to digital broadcast. I don’t feel like paying $35/month for cable, so it seemed like upgrading my TV was the way to go (rather than paying for a converter — even with the coupon). We’re using a 19 inch model we inherited (the 19 inch model I bought in 1980 is essentially a spare). So it seemed like I could kill two birds with one stone — upgrade to HDTV, and switch to digital.

But two years ago this would have cost about $1200 for a 32 inch model. This year, I was able to find a Black Friday special model for $499: a Samsung LN32A300. Everyone had them for the same price, so I want to a local store (Magnolia Audio/Video).

I was really amazed at how much better the picture is. Hooking up the same rabbit ear antenna we used before, the picture is now totally sharp, where most of the channels were rather fuzzy before. Even the VCR looks a lot better (no doubt because it’s now connected via video instead of RF on channel 2).

Elise tried getting a new antenna with an amplifier, but this actually made things worse (one channel would cut off with the amplifier on), so she returned it.

The remote seems reasonably well designed (though it doesn’t light up), and the menu system is quite usable.

I haven’t tried hooking up a computer yet (need to track down a reasonably priced DVI/HDMI cable), but I’m sure I will at some point.

So we now have more channels (many of the stations apparently have a second or even third signal, though I’m not entirely sure what they use it for), about twice the screen size (by area), and no longer have to futz with the antenna to get an OK picture. I’m surprised at how pleased I am.

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