Hooking up

My mom just ordered a digital box for her TV. There was a promotion whereby they were offering six months free rental, so Mom thought that might be a good idea, especially since the TV is her major source of entertainment. (Yes, Mom. Free is always good.) They were also promoting their digital channel package for 7.95$ a month – 25 additional channels, most of which seem to be devoted to sports. That too appealed to Mom, as she is a huge sports fan.

I had ordered my own digital box last year, when they were offering an entire year of free rental. I didn’t go for the digital channel package, mainly because I don’t really watch enough TV to justify the extra cost. (DD doesn’t watch TV at all, preferring to download stuff on her laptop.) And actually, what I wanted out of the deal was the cool universal remote that came with the digital box.

When my box arrived in the mail, I easily hooked it up with my TV and DVD player and then activated the system on-line. I programmed my spiffy new remote so that both the TV and DVD player worked with it. I got a great deal of satisfaction doing this, feeling totally competent and exceptionally powerful.

So when Mom asked me if I could hook up her new digital box and activate it, I jumped on it. Woo hoo! I thought. Another chance to show off my mad skillz!

DD and I arrived at Mom’s this weekend, and with our combined strength, we moved her very heavy TV/stereo/bookshelf stand thingy away from the wall. Then I got to work and hooked the digital box up. We didn’t have an extra cable to hook up Mom’s ancient VCR, but she didn’t mind if I disconnected it, she said, since she barely ever used it. Okay. That’s what I did. Took about 15 minutes.

Next I fired up my laptop (glomming onto some nearby silly person’s unprotected network) and activated the box on-line. I programmed her new universal remote control. Then we sat down to wait. They say it may take up to half an hour before everything is loaded and you’re good to go with digital TV.

We waited way longer than half an hour, and there was still nothing. I played around with the remote and the settings on the TV. Nothing. I played around some more. Nothing. DD played around. Mom played around. Still nothing. DD checked for further information on line. Nothing useful, so still nothing on the TV.

So I unhooked everything and started again. Once all was connected to my satisfaction, I went back on-line and reactivated the box. We waited again. And again, there was nothing, no picture, no sound. I got on the phone to the cable company, but got nowhere other than being on hold for 45 minutes. I tried a couple of times, but who wants to hang on for an hour or more? Not me.

Plus, it was getting close to the 4:30 start of the hockey game. I was very frustrated and had no idea what to try next. I was pretty sure that everything was properly connected, so I thought that there was just some little setting on the TV that I hadn’t done yet. But I couldn’t leave Mom with no TV.

I disconnected the box from her TV and hooked up the regular cable so that she could still get her regular channels – and watch the hockey game. I told her that she’d better call the cable company and ask them to send somebody out to hook up her digital box and do whatever I obviously couldn’t figure out with the TV so that the stupid thing would work for her. I felt not at all competent or powerful. I slunk home.

Mom called me earlier today. She had finally gotten through to the cable company with only a ten-minute wait. Some “very nice young man” walked her through the whole procedure and then activated her box for her over the phone. The TV sprang to life, picture, sound and all 25 additional digital channels. Mom was very pleased, needless to say.

And it seems that I had done everything perfectly. The only problem had been with activating the box, which apparently didn’t work on-line for my mother’s account as it had done previously for mine. Maybe the cable company knew that I was pirating someone else’s network?

Who knows? But I can’t help but ask myself, all this hassle just so Mom can watch every single Toronto Blue Jays game on Sportsnet Ontario?!? Sheesh!


6 responses to “Hooking up

  1. That whole digital thing is a bit of a racket, really. What they do is kill favorite TV channels and basically force your hand to get a digital box if you want to keep on watching. I know, I succumbed last year and wrote our supplier (Shaw) a snarky letter. I response they offered me the year freebie like you have. Yes, I can be bought, but it still pisses me off.

    • mrwriteon – Ironically, neither I nor my mother have TVs that even process all that digital stuff, they’re so old! So really, the only thing I got out of it was the cool remote. At least Mom ponied up for the additional channels.

  2. There must be some way you can be ‘paid’ for all this hassle – a nice dinner out (on a non game day, of course!)

  3. Arrrrghhhhhhhh… all ready to show off your mad skillz and you end up looking like you have no idea what you’re doing.

    • Jazz – Not only that, but my eighty-year-old mother, who is technologically challenged (to put it mildly!) gets it all happening and I don’t. I just don’t get no respect!