Home > Uncategorized > I have a DVR now!

I have a DVR now!

Well, today I put together a list of all the TV shows I’d miss while I was out of town, looking into the options for recording them.  In the past, I’ve taped what I could, but there was a lot of stuff on my list and my VCR is getting a bit worn out.  So I tried to find out what would be available On Demand or on Hulu, and that accounted for most but not all of my list — and some of the things on Hulu wouldn’t be available until something like 10 days later.

So I decided, what the heck, I might as well go ahead and do what I’ve been considering doing now that I can afford it, which was to drive up to the cable  service center and trade in my existing digital cable box for one that included a DVR.  That way, I could record everything and not have to worry about the videotape failing to start or something.  So that’s what I did.  It’s an extra 10 bucks a month, but hey, it means I won’t have to buy a new VCR (if they even make them anymore).

I had to call customer service to get the box activated, but now it seems to be working fine.  Then it took me a trip to the website FAQ and a little trial and error to figure out how to use the DVR.  Maybe I was too quick to say no when the customer service rep asked if I had any more questions.  But I got it figured out, and I’ve just finished entering a bunch of programs — not only for the shows during my trip, but for a couple of things that air nightly in the wee hours, the ’66 Batman on the Hub and Gargoyles on Disney XD.  I guess by morning I’ll know if it works.

One bonus is that the new box responds to the remote control much faster than my old one.  The old one was a bit sluggish, taking a second or two to register a command, sometimes considerably longer.  I’d been wanting to swap it out for one that would hopefully work better, but I never got around to it.  But this one responds just about instantly, and it loads On Demand menus and stuff much faster too.  So I’m rather pleased.

It does have one drawback that’s the same as my old cable box, which is that the output going directly to my TV has pretty low volume.  But I usually run the output through my VCR, whose audio output goes  to my A/V control center and thence to my box speakers.  Maybe I can skip that step now.  I’ve generally tended to use the VCR as my main TV tuner, putting the cable directly into that and getting the non-digital signal from it, and only using the cable box for the digital-only channels.  That’s because the old box didn’t only have slow response time and poor volume, but tended to have a faint vertical line sweeping across the image.  The new box doesn’t have the image problem or the response-time problem.  So I should seriously consider doing some rewiring, put the cable box output directly into the A/V center.  But that’s something that can wait until after I’m back from Seattle, I guess.

UPDATE: Umm, I discovered that there’s actually a volume control on the cable box itself, so I was able to turn up the sound.  I guess there was a volume control on the old cable box too, but somehow it never occurred to me to try it.  I never really took a close look at the controls that were actually on the box.  It was just kind of a black box to me — literally, black buttons in a black case, so they didn’t stand out.  The new one has black buttons in a silver case, so they were easier to notice.  Still, I’m rather embarrassed at my lack of observational skills.  I guess I figured it was just one more limitation of a rather flawed cable box.

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