Cable woes

I grew up in a house that had a fancy metal contraption on the roof. That contraption was called a television antenna. Thanks to that antenna, we were able to receive pretty much any and all programming that aired on channels two through 13.

We received only 12 channels. That’s all we needed.

Fast forward a few decades and our trusty antenna has given way to an occasionally trusty cable system. Those 12 channels have multiplied tenfold and then some.

Recently our trusty cable system has informed its customers that it’s upgrading its network to a higher quality digital system. Does this mean that we’re in store for crystal clear, higher quality Shamwow and Ab Blaster infomercials?

As per the instructions of our trusty cable system, I journeyed to my local cable office and picked up the necessary digital transport adapter devices. Channeling my inner A/V tech, and lamenting my lack of an engineering degree, I installed the devices on our TVs.

Once installed, I was further instructed to call our trusty cable system to have the digital transport adapter devices activated. The call was pretty routine until the customer service representative told me it would take at least 45 minutes to download all of the channels included in our package.

(Back in the day, before channels had to be downloaded, it only took a few minutes and a few Radio Shack parts to split off and run a broadcast signal through the entire house, but I digress!)

So we waited. After the download completed, we scanned our channel lineup and to our surprise, we had fewer channels than we did before installing the digital transport adapter devices! Among the channels lost in the switch – Nickelodeon. (You try telling Zoe she can’t watch Sponge Bob and Big Time Rush!)

I called our trusty cable system with our dilemma. It takes a lot to get me flustered, especially with hapless customer service reps, but just as my calm telephonic baritone was rising toward a tenor range higher than Philip Bailey on helium; my call was elevated to a level two customer service technician. (I can only imagine ‘level three’ is some Delta Force type unit that is only deployed by the president to handle only the most unthinkable of cable crises!)

Apparently, there is some sort of issue that has to be addressed at the pole, or so they think. Larry may need to be deployed, or the problem may be solved remotely. Our trusty cable system isn’t really sure (I guess acquiring big broadcast networks makes it hard to focus on meager technical issues).

I regret to report that our call ended with no resolution. The disconnected digital transport devices are resting on the floor, while we await further instructions.

As of this writing, our trusty cable system is still investigating the problem. The good news is, Zoe’s not missing iCarly, we’re not being charged, and we’re receiving free HBO for our trouble.

In the meantime, as a backup, I wonder if I can find a decent antenna on eBay?


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