Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

 Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Sunday, January 16, 2005
So Close and Yet So Far
I think I mentioned in a previous post that I had purchased a Panasonic DVD recorder/VCR combo a few weeks ago and it still had to be installed.

This is because the television itself is very heavy and is on a pretty solid stand. I couldn't budge it, and today, when we finally decided to get to the installation, James had to get on the floor to shift it out so it was pushed perpendicular to the corner it is in and we could get at the back of the television and the other components.

First we got the Sharp VCR out. I had bought this as a second VCR to dub off videos and then used it as a prime video when my Panasonic finally gave up the ghost. Since then I've wanted to drop-kick the thing about every two weeks. It's skipped programming, ejected tapes when I didn't need it to, and Friday, although I set the thing just to record Room by Room, it recorded HGTV for the next five hours. Hello? Why?

Our faithful old Apex is still working, so we're going to put it upstairs in the spare room. There were several movies it wouldn't play properly, though, such as The Abyss and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger; I'm hoping they will play properly on the new Panasonic unit.

Then there's the Cyberhome. We looked at the receipt with shock as we started the setup: we've had it in a box since April! We bought this because it was small and I wanted something that would fit next to the DVD recorder (I was planning on buying it that far back) and because it was progressive scan and we'd been told it was hackable. I knew the recorder wouldn't be and I wanted something that would still play our Region 2 videos.

Well, this was an exercise in aggravation that took about four hours. We had some success: there's something wrong with our television (we need to call Circuit City and get them to look at it as we got the extended warranty because we bought the floor model): the picture is variably fuzzy (sometimes it's downright snowy; looks like you're trying to get a UHF station without a fringe antenna) and there's a vertical line a little right of center on the screen. We were keeping the VCR on all the time since it slightly improved the picture. But the picture would just fuzz out for no reason, and we'd have to go to the television and jostle it a little--or sometimes more than a little--to straighten it out. One of the reasons we wanted to get back there was to make sure it wasn't a loose connection. No, it wasn't. Everything was nice and tight.

We finally sorted out what would be connected where and hitched up the Cyberhome and got it going (you had to connect it with S-video, then use the setup screen to change it to progressive scan before we connect the component cables, which struck us as bizarre). Once it was installed as Component 2, we placed the Panasonic in as Component 1. This actually hitched up easily. Not only that, but the television signal running through the unit as component video is head and shoulders over the old signal. The vertical line was gone and the picture was pristine. This seemed to confirm my theory of what is wrong with the television picture: something inside, probably the tuner, is loose. My mom had the same problem with her television and the repairman had to come to the house and solder something inside that kept coming loose. (So much for "solid" state.)

By seven we were exhausted, but I didn't want to move the darn thing back until I'd made sure everything was working properly. I taped a bit with the VCR, changed from Panasonic to Cyberhome to VCR, applied the hack to the Cyberhome. Finally it was ready to go back in. If anything, it was harder for poor James to push the whole caboodle back into the corner than to pull it out.

It was then we noticed something odd and we aren't sure if we just missed it because the screen was facing the light while we were working in the back or if we have jostled something: in each corner of the screen, when the color on the screen is light, is a spot of color: green in the lower right hand corner, purple in the upper left hand corner, blue in the lower left hand corner, but it's variable; sometimes the upper left corner is yellow (like when we have the menu screen on). Plus that damned line had reappeared. It's not always there, and not always in the same place; it alternates between left and right of center, and is fainter than it was before, but it's still there. It's infuriating. All that work and there's still a glitch and we don't know why.