Monday, April 17, 2006

HDTV... almost

I almost had HDTV today, and I stress the word ALMOST. About a year ago, I bought a new HD ready television. For those of you that don't know what it means to be an HD ready TV, it simply means that with the right HD set top tuner and a decent pair of rabbit ears, my TV will display free over-the-air pictures perfectly. That means I can have a great HD quality signal on all of the network television that I watch.

So... after making this discovery, I proceeded to go to Wal-Mart and buy a pair of rabbit ears. After getting the rabbit ears, I hit eBay to find a set top HD tuner. I found one for $79 (Directv brand) and they normally retail for around $200. Never afraid to grab a bargain when I find one, I proceeded to bid on and win the HD tuner. Nearly a week later, it arrived in the mail and I (with almost uncontrollable excitement) began setting it up. I got all the wires plugged into to the correct wire receptacles, got the antenna antennizing, plugged it in, turned it on, proceeded to follow the simple on screen instructions, completed the process, did the obligatory reboot of the system, and then... (to quote a classic Jimmy Buffett song) "That's when I first saw the bear. He was a Kodiak lookin' fella 'bout 19 feet tall." In this case, my bear was a blue screen with the words, "Activation Required" displayed ever so prominently across the bottom of the screen.

Apparently, because the tuner was meant to be used with Directv, the only way I can use the over-the-air tuner is by ordering Directv and activating the unit. I called Directv and this will cost me $44.95 a month for a minimum of twelve months.

Needless to say, the unit will be back on eBay again shortly. I'm not overly concerned about the money... it was only $79.00 and I'm pretty sure that I can recoup that. Then using the proceeds from that sale, I'm also pretty sure I can buy a different, non-Directv restricted set top box (I found out this afternoon while researching my problem that Samsung makes a good one and they are also pretty cheap on eBay). However, I am concerned that it will probably be another two weeks or more before I have free over-the-air HDTV once you factor in the fact that by the time I list the one I've got on eBay, sell it, wait for the money to come in, ship it, buy another one, wait for the money to go out, wait for it to be shipped, and finally receive it in the mail.

That was my great adventure for Monday. I will post again when I finally have "free" over-the-air HDTV. The way things are looking right now... it will probably coincide with my Merry Christmas post.

If you happen to be an existing Directv subscriber and you're interested in owning (not leasing) an HD receiver for the ultimate Directv experience, email me and let me know. My price is extremely competitive and I can even show you how to set it up. I believe Directv charges an extra $4.99 month for the HD service, but you wouldn't have to pay that if you just wanted to utilize the free over-the-air local channels. Just in case you're not sold yet, the unit is also 250 gigabyte DVR. Any interested buyers, please let me know by making a comment to this post.

It's time for me to go work out and relieve some of today's HDTV frustration and disappointment.

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