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The Amazing Race Loves My Money

My favorite show (The Amazing Race for you slow people) is going to start rerunning on the GSN network. This starts on July 11th. Well, my local cable company only carries GSN if you pay extra for digital cable. Not only is the service more, but you also have to have a converter box to see the digital channels. I kept trying to say it wasn’t worth the extra money to watch the old episodes, but I found myself calling my cable company to get a total on just how much extra it would cost. Turns out they are having a special and, for the first three months, my bill will actually go down $9 a month. After that, it goes up $20 – oddly enough, exactly what I just saved on my DSL bill. So…that made me want a DVD burner so that I could burn the shows to DVD. This led to days of searching and thinking about it followed by me breaking down and spending more than I could afford on a burner. I bought it and brought him home to discover some problems – it won’t fit in the homemade shelf I had under my TV in my entertainment center.

I thought I might have to buy a new shelf or drill more holes in my entertainment center, but I think I’ve managed to avoid all of that. I put the new DVD recorder on the shelf above the TV – I had to go buy tons of new cords in order to have some long enough to do that. Right now, I have a splitter on the cable with one end going to the (new) digital cable box and one to the DVD Recorder. The stupid cable box complicated everything tremendously. I’m doing something like this:

  • Coax from splitter to cable box
  • S-video from Cable box to TiVo
  • Composite A/V from TiVo to TV
  • IR Blaster from TiVo to Cable box so TiVo can change channels on Cable Box
  • S-video from TiVo to DVD recorder
  • Coax from splitter to DVD recorder
  • Composite A/V from DVD to TV

In theory, I should be able to record any non-digital channel on my DVD recorder while also recording/watching on my TiVo. For some reason, though, the “standard cable” channels are fuzzy on my DVD recorder. I’m wondering if it has something to do with the splitter and the cable box. I hate the cable box.

I transferred my first test recording from the TiVo to the DVD recorder and am now trying my first burn! What did I use for testing? Why the TAR7 finale, of course.

The funny thing is, I decided to keep my older kind of crappy DVD player so that I wouldn’t have to adjust those cords (which connect to my 20 year old stereo receiver – yeah, I should have updated that first). Well, it’s the same brand as the new one and I sat the new one on top of it. So, every time I press “play” on the remote for the new DVD recorder, the old one springs to life and yells at me to insert a disk. (Okay, it doesn’t really yell, it just says, “No disc” on the display, but after a few times, I felt it was getting a little testy.)

Other than figuring it all out and buying all the cords, the worst part was moving all the furniture. My entertainment center is huge and heavy. My TV while not HUGE, is heavy and it sits on a weird homemade wannabe shelf. When I bought the entertainment center, it was a floor sample and, thus, heavily discounted (only way I could afford it). It was missing a shelf that’s supposed to go on the main closet like bit – that shelf is, normally, where one would set their TV. Well, I figured that was no big deal. How expensive could it be to replace that? I found another store that carried the same piece of furniture and asked if one could just buy the interior shelf. Yep – that’ll be $250. The hell? No way I was paying that. So, I went to Home Depot and bought a pre finished board that was close to the color of the center. I then bought four rectangular glass bricks, put them in the center and set the board on top of them – instant shelf!

The problem with this is: the bricks aren’t attached to the shelf. Actually, the only time that’s a problem is when you want to do something like, oh, turn the TV around. Say, if you have some new equipment to hook up to it or something. This is complicated by the fact that the TV is so deep, it barely fits in the piece. So, you have to slowly shimmy the TV around – rotate it a little; check the bricks and move them back under a good place in the board to keep things from tipping; repeat over and over again as you slowly move the whole thing far enough to get at the connectors in the back. And, of course, once done, you have to repeat the whole dance in order to get the TV back into place. The whole thing had me asking myself over and over again: why did you spend money on a new DVD recorder and not on a proper shelf?

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