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Let's Hear It for the Weekend Warrior.
By Bill Devereau
On Sale Now!
What is it with TV’s and home theater systems anyway? Why do they make these things so difficult to set up? The instructions seem to be written in double-speak, and if you hire someone to do it it’ll cost you a fortune. Maybe that’s why the instructions are written that way. The manufacturer must be in cahoots with the audio technicians. When you hire an audio tech they kickback part of what it costs the customer to the manufacturer. Then again maybe not, but it sure seems that way.
I got one of those brand new high-definition flat screen TVs the other day and I had enough trouble setting that up. Plugging all those accessories and cables and wires and gadgets into it was confusing enough. It was hard enough translating the directions into something I could halfway comprehend. Sometimes it's best if you toss the instructions and just wing it.
It was also one of the hottest and most humid days of the season but I thought it was only going to take a few minutes. Two hours later I was beginning to regret the whole thing. Then my wife asked me how I was doing and I said something like, "Can't you tell from all the yelling and cursing? I sweat so much I cranked my air conditioner up full and set up a large window fan on the floor across the room and cranked that up full as well. I must tell you it didn’t help much. When it’s 100+ degrees outside with 95% (or greater) humidity there isn’t much you can do but every little bit helps.
When I finished four and a half hours later I decided to hold off on plugging everything into my home stereo for another day. I was so exhausted I needed a break. I was also soaked to the bone from perspiring so much I was afraid to plug any additional electrical items in at that point for fear of electrocuting myself. Besides that, I am also one of the world’s biggest procrastinators. If they gave out awards for procrastination I would have qualified for the Procrastination Hall of Fame years ago.
I took a long shower afterward, retrieved a cold one from the ‘fridge, and planted myself down in front of my prized brand new state-of-the-art high definition flat screen TV and fired it up hoping like hell it wouldn’t blow up. But luckily it didn’t. I’m fortunate to be alive today to tell the tale and memorialize it in my latest column.
I felt so proud of myself. Look what I have accomplished! And there were only a few items leftover this time that I didn’t have a clue as to where they were supposed to go. I was so elated I felt like beating my chest when my wife witnessed my latest accomplishment. I did that last time and she wasn’t very impressed so I refrained from doing so this time.
This time I didn’t want to hear her say, “That’s great! So, what are you gonna do with all this stuff leftover you didn’t know what to do with?” Just as she did last time. There’s no sense in bragging about something if the other person’s only going to browbeat you in return. I felt so humbled.
As it turns out my TV didn’t blow up and my wife and I sat and watched it for a while. She was also thankful I showered beforehand. I had a feeling it was going to be another project plugging everything into my home stereo system so I put that off for another day. My flat screen television is a stereo TV and the sound is terrific, but it doesn’t even come close to matching the speakers that go with my Pioneer receiver. And let’s face it if you’re going to go to all the trouble to purchase a state-of-the-art high definition flat screen TV you might as well go all the way. So, it isn’t exactly a surround sound theater system, but it’s the next best thing.
I needed to rest up while preparing myself for such an undertaking. Since I was going to do it all by myself I needed as much rest as possible. I just want to reiterate that I am not a skilled audio technician by any means. Most people would probably have done both jobs in less than a couple of hours. But I am a weekend warrior and I persevere until all else fails. I waited about a week before plugging it all into my stereo system.
I just want to say that plugging my brand-new TV into my sound system was, as I predicted, much tougher than setting up the television the previous week. It isn’t just plugging the TV into the stereo alone. I also plugged my DVR and combination DVD/VCR/CD player into the mix. But that was the easy part. The hard part was to wire it all up so it not only played through the television speakers but also played through my stereo system. Red wires, white wires, yellow wires. This plugs into that port, that plugs into the other port, while the other wire crisscrosses that cable and in through the other slot. Why can’t there be one wire or cable that plugs everything into one slot or port and be done with it? It would make things so much easier and far less complicated. And I wouldn't wear myself out cursing my vocal chords to death.
I had to pull all the wires out from my Pioneer receiver and figure out where they were supposed to go and that wasn’t fun. But in the end, everything worked (sort of). I don’t think I set it up exactly the way the instructions specified, but hey, nobody’s perfect. My wife and I sat down and tested everything out. So, if we want to watch the TV and listen to it through the home stereo you have to press the “Phono” button on the receiver. If you want to watch an old fashion videotape (I still have every tape I ever made or purchased from a store) or a DVD through the home stereo you have to press the CD button on the receiver. I don’t actually have a CD player by the way. I can play CDs on my DVR.
After going through all that my wife says to me with that wry smile of hers, “I knew how to do it, honey. I could have helped, but I left it all up to you cuz I know how much you love to do it yourself. That way you can brag to all your friends that you did it without any help.” I knew she was being sarcastic, but I also know how embarrassing it would be if your buddies knew your wife assisted or did it herself. And if she did it all herself I wouldn’t have the guts to admit it anyway. Can you imagine?