George V. Reilly

HDTV

TH-42PZ80U 42

We’ve gone high-def over the last month. First, Emma bought a 42" 1080p plasma Panasonic HDTV to replace the 32" CRT TV in our living room. Although it’s wider, it’s not over­whelm­ing, as the slender box sits further back. The picture’s pretty good—at least when you give it a good signal.

To take advantage of it required a cascade of upgrades. Our old TiVo served us well for eight years; ap­point­ment TV has long been alien to us. It’s dis­con­nect­ed now, replaced the other day by a DirecTV Plus DVR and a new satellite dish. I had heard bad things about the older DirecTV DVRs, but I have no complaints about this one yet.

I spent a year at Atlas working on ad­ver­tis­ing for Video on Demand, but until we got the new DVR, I had never seen VOD in anyone’s home. VOD gives us an additional, changing catalog of programs and films that we can download when we choose, rather than having to record them when they’re broadcast. I drilled a hole in the floor and ran a 50 foot Ethernet cable into Emma’s basement office to get an Internet connection.

After the DVR arrived, I felt compelled to hook the TV up to the stereo, which required me to run new speaker wire. I’m quite sensitive to visual images, I have a fairly good eye for pho­to­graph­ic com­po­si­tion, and a well-developed ty­po­graph­ic sense. I am however an aural clod and probably tone deaf. Even so, I can tell that the stereo sounds better than the TV.

I also bought an HDMI-HDMI cable for the DVD Recorder to replace the initial analog connection through a video switchbox. And I have a DVI-HDMI cable so that I can hook my MacBook up to this enormous external monitor. Only this last is dis­ap­point­ing. Everything else looks marvelous.

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