Television | New NY 23rd

My 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.”

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