Last night the kid and I drove back down to You-Do-It in Needham and picked up some thin RG-59u coaxial cable to run under the edge of the rug from one side of the living room to the other. Your standard fat black TV cable (the very stuff known as “cable”) would never do it; but it comes in thin versions too. Since both my wife and our landlady don’t want to see any wires, we had to get something we could hide. You-Do-It has approximately everything electronic, including what we needed to get his job done.
So anyway, hiding some cable under the rug made it possible for us to see watch TV in the standard way, for the first time since taking the apartment here near Boston. Our cable company is Verizon FiOS, which brings the signal to the outside of the house on fiber optic cable but runs the last sixty feet with standard co-ax.
At the far end of the cable is a Verizon set-top box (STB) made by Motorola. The “TV” consists of an LCD computer screen and a set of cheap powered speakers. We receive no signals over the air, or even over the cable. Instead TV has become nothing more than an application. “Channels” are nothing more than data streams.
Our channel line-up from Verizon is smaller than what we get from Dish Network on our setup back home. No HBO or Showtime, for example. The picture quality appears to be about the same, although in both cases the quality appears to be limited at the source. Much, or perhaps most, of the HD programming really isn’t. Some of it is plain old NTSC (low-definition) television. Some of it is HD but in a smaller area, surrounded by a large black frame. The user interface is a bit fancier than Dish’s, and appears to be faster, but if you hold down an arrow to scroll up and down the Guide, some of the lines change while others do not, which makes fast scrolling almost pointless. Dish also has star-type reviews (four being max) for its movies, while Verizon does not. Dish’s info from the guide is also better, I think. Hard to tell, without having them side-by-side. The music selection on Dish is also far better, since it also includes Sirius. The kid, who likes oldies, was especially annoyed that the category “gold” covers all of the fifties and sixties, while the service has a separate channel for each of the next three decades.
For some reason “Channel not available” shows up with disturbing frequency. Or so it seemed on our first evening with it, lasting about 20 minutes. The main missing one last night was WGBH, our top local PBS station.
The main reason I’m posting this is to pass along what the kid said after we did a scan from one end of the “dial” to the other.
“There’s nothing on”, he said. And walked away.
What would “something” be?
“Oh, you know. Like on YouTube”.