Wednesday, March 17, 2004

DVD blog.

Video has been on my mind lately, since we've acquired a DVD player, which I made fully functional just last night. This took some doing, since our television was manufactured back around the founding of Ur -- well, actually ca. 1995 -- and the instructions for connecting the DVD to the TV assumed that the TV has certain female connections that it does not. Complicating things was the fact that we wanted to maintain the VCR, too.

The DVD instructions didn't acknowledge that anyone with a DVD could even have such an old TV. Remarkable that something as dry as a consumer electronics instruction manual can have a subtext, but it does, and this is it: Go out and buy a new TV, old man. It will be obsolete in about six months, by the way.

Which in turn makes me think of the push toward high-definition television. What for? Cui bono? I've never seen a satisfactory explanation of why it matters if TV pictures are so much clearer, and why it's worth spending any money to achieve that end. The argument for HDTV seems to boil down to this: It's the wave of the future because, well, just because it is. Go out and buy a new TV already.

Anyway, I didn't buy a new TV, but instead an RF modulator, which I learned about by running "DVD VCR Connection" through Google. This turned up a number of articles, all of which pointed to the RF modulator as the solution. It sounds like the device Marvin the Martian used, but it's essentially a box into which all the relevant cables from the TV, VCR and DVD connect. It then sorts things out.

Amazingly, I hooked it all up, and it worked. Just amazing. No mysterious failures not explained in the manual, no crucial steps overlooked by me, no need to go out to buy some missing auxiliary part. I then took Lilly to the video store, and rented her choice of disc: Barbie as Rapunzel (not as bad as it sounds). The store we went to had almost nothing older than about 1960. Grrrr. I got one of the few older titles they did have worth seeing with a clear stop-motion capacity: Citizen Kane.

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