tvMy dad once was a television engineer in the days of vacuum tubes and CRT displays. He had burns on the inside of his arms from brushing against hot tubes and scrapes on the outside from jerking his arm out.

In those days we had antennas with rotators–you could get a few channels if you pointed the antenna at the station. If the signal was weak the picture was snowy. What we saw on the screen was what you would have seen in the studio from the perspective of the camera operator. If there was no program, there might be a test pattern which could be used to judge display resolution. If the station was off the air, there was snow. If one channel was off the air, others would be on.

Then we got cable. The cable brought the TV signal to the home with better quality than an antenna. There were more channels, but you had to pay. The old TV still worked; it was no big deal.

Now we have digital TV. I am not an expert. I had to buy a new set–the old one which worked fine after many years was now obsolete. The new TV gets signals from the internet. When the internet is slow, the picture is distorted. I have not seen a test pattern, but I’m not impressed with the picture quality. Sometimes I see a blank screen with a “loading” message. When the news host asks a question, there is a delay before the expert responds. The expert is often not in the studio with the host even though one might think so.

I pay for internet service and for a Spectrum  TV application. The TV application gets me many channels in which I have no interest; it also gets me Spectrum ads. This seems wrong–why should I pay Spectrum to see their ads? It angers me to hear how wonderful they claim their service is. Sometimes I see the “loading” message during the Spectrum ads. The ads tell me that Spectrum internet service is “crazy fast.” That seems to be a lie.

Cable TV was independent of the internet. Fast or slow, my internet service was unaffected by the TV being on or off. Now my internet service slows to a crawl when the TV is on. I plan to try a faster ethernet link to the router and modem–I hope that will help.

I own the cable modem. I bought it when Time Warner started to charge rent for their modem. My modem used to work fine; perhaps now it is too slow.

TV used to be simple and reliable ; now in my opinion much less so. We once expected to see advertising since TV reception was free. Now we pay for it and see more advertising than program content. Many of the ads are offensive. I miss for the good old days of TV–Ed Sullivan, Lawrence Welk, “I Love Lucy;” even maybe “Brady Bunch” or  “Lost in Space.”




About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
This entry was posted in Education and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Television

  1. Anne says:

    I had a basic cable package from Time Warner and when Spectrum came along, they doubled that rate. So I cancelled and now have Netflix and an inexpensive Hulu subscription and get along just fine. (Amazon channels also offers an à la carte menu if you happen to be a Prime member.) When I went down to cancel my cable with them I complained about my internet speed and hilariously, they told me it was because “Time Warner is slow.” But! Do you not now own Time Warner, I asked? She shrugged and suggested I get their internet instead–no idea still why the company they took over isn’t part of “their” operations–for a mere $20 a month more than the already inflated price I pay. (As far as I know, Americans have the highest internet bills in the world.) You can easily check your internet speed on line–google “internet speed test” and it’ll take you right there–and our state’s AG’s office did have a link to which you can upload your results if you aren’t getting what you’re paying for.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. whungerford says:

    One night Spectrum went down (not that unusual); the TV went blank, which got my spouse’s attention. She insisted I call and complain, which I did. I got the run around–the several TWC representatives I talked to had no clue. They suggested it must be my problem. I knew it was their problem, so I knew more than they did. Later that night it came back on.

    It is best to be careful though. Once I called the power company to report a wire down. As an electrical engineer and employee of the company, I thought I knew what was what. The lady on the phone vigorously disputed my story, so I went out and looked again. Sure enough–the wire that was down belonged to the city, not the power company. It powered the street lights; I had reported it to the wrong authorities. Oops.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. pystew says:

    We all have television stories. We have a little cottage with lake access on a small lake about 20 minutes from Penn Yan, just over the Steuben County line. When we bought iut in 2001, we inheritied the TV and am attenna, and got five or six stations from Elmira/Corning. No cable, no internet, but I bought a XM Radio. We could get CNN and MSNBC for a while. I listened to Hurricane Katrina on CNN .

    A few years ago Time Warner had an offer I couldn’t refuse–$5/month for Basic TV and $5 a month for internet. The first year they turned it off. When I called to tell them it wasn’t working they told me I didn’t pay them. I told them I never received a bill—I guess they sent it to me, and since I didn’t have a mailbox there, it went to the Hammondsport Post Office.

    Now the bill is $60/month for basic everything. I used to put pay the seasonal rate in the from November to May ($5/month). That saved me from unhooking everything and taking the equipment to Geneva, and repeat the trip in May. Since they became Spectrum, it the seasonal rate popped up to something like $17. I got everything unhooked and made the trek to Geneva.
    Don’t know what I’m going to do next month. Maybe I’ll just get Internet and Hulu.

    I missed the same programs, William, but I have to add the Twilight Zone to the list. I do think many commericals are better than I remember from the 60’s and 70’s. I hate the ones where people are hugging and kissing their Trucks. I have to laugh everytime I see the one with the teen ager is telling his parents about the fender-bender he had in a small drive thru lane.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. josephurban says:

    I remember the days of the TV Repairmen coming to the house quite regularly to replace tubes. Often. The good old days!?

    Watching the Lions and Bears on TV, with the youngest member of the family having to hold the rabbit ears (with the tin foil on the antennae) to get the best reception. The good old days!?

    I also remember when the news was actually the news and not propaganda…Cronkite, Huntley, Brinkley….They never ran a story without multiple sources. People you could trust. Those WERE the good old days.

    For those of you complaining about Spectrum. Try Frontier. Frequent outages. Extremely slow internet.(often less than 1mg) . Sometimes when it RAINS the system goes down. Fuzzy phone. All for $92 a month. Of course, where I am at they have a monopoly so I cannot switch. Frontier is probably the worst internet provider this side of the Volga River.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Barbara Griffin says:

    We were paying $80/month for Dish satellite tv, canceled it several months ago, and put up an antenna instead. The reception is great, and we get about 15 stations. We don’t watch a lot of regular tv anyway, so this works well for us. Our internet is via satellite, since we don’t have cable service out here in the sticks.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rynstone says:

    As for the TV reception I use over the air with an antenna and a rotor. I get 22 channels. Much better than growing up with 3 channels.

    I can easily live without cable TV.
    For Internet choices there are so many to choose from. You can get internet from a couple of Satellite services, several cell phone service, land line phone service and local cable service. All in all not too bad compared to what we had in the past.
    If there were not so many people streaming video over the internet it would be much better for everyone else.
    Please don’t ask the government to get involved. We will lose choices, the quality will go down and the costs will go up.


  7. whungerford says:

    Wise regulation can stave off chaos and discourage monopoly. TV has been regulated by the FCC since it began–a good thing. Future regulations, such as the end of net neutrality, may not be so good.

    I’d like a regulation preventing turning up the audio volume for commercials.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.