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Does TV have to be Complicated?
Old 06-24-2012, 02:03 AM   #1
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Does TV have to be Complicated?

I've moved in with my mom while my house is being repaired and put on the market. There is broadband internet here from Comcast (with a home computer network including wireless), plus cable TV, plus a Roku box that was a gift from my brother a few years back. My mom is out of town at a granddaughter's graduation, and my niece was here to stay with me earlier this week. (My mom arranged this trip before I had my surgery, and I was really worried I wouldn't be fit to be by myself for ten days. Fortunately, I wasn't nearly as wiped out as I feared I would be.) Anyway, my niece got the Roku going and set up a one-week trial subscription to Hulu Plus, so we could watch Downton Abbey. She's gone back home and now I can't get the TV to come on at all. I talked to my mom on the phone today and she says sometimes she can't get it to work either.

I haven't watched network TV regularly in years, and haven't ever subscribed to cable, but I do like to get audiobooks and DVD's from the library or rent movies and watch them. At my house, I used the internal drive in my computer to play both DVDs and audiobook CD's. In my next house, I'd like to have broadband internet for web surfing (a mere month of free access to high speed internet has forever spoiled me for dial-up), and (gasp) maybe even buy or rent movies from I-tunes. It occurs to me that now I've got broadband, I can also get e-books from the library.

I feel really stupid when I can't figure out how to turn the TV on and off! I'm wondering what sort of setup I can do in my next house that won't be so complicated it's a recurring source of frustration rather than a pleasure. I could just keep using my computer for all that, but having a bigger screen for watching movies would be nice. Just now I got a nebulous idea of a [wall mounted?] screen, bigger than any computer monitor I know of, for movies and internet at home [using a wireless keyboard?], plus an I-pad for use elsewhere, including use on my occasional trips for stuff like genealogical research or showing cats. Is there a simple way to do that?
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:56 AM   #2
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Can't help you....but can sure empathize. We don't have cable/satellite, nor do we watch TV using rabbit ears, but if we ever visit people who have satellite we're absolutely baffled by the rigmarole they have to go through...."This remote does this, while this remote does ??"
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:46 AM   #3
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I have satellite, roku, and broadband. its all in the learning curve. I'll bet you didn't know how to use a computer the first time you sat down in front of it. If you really wanted to you could get a remote to run all of them at the same time.
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:10 AM   #4
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I'm not sure exactly what you mean when you say the TV won't come on. Do you mean the TV power light won't come on, or that the power is on but the there is no picture? If it's the latter, you most likely either have the TV tuned to the wrong channel (it should be channel 3 or 4) or have the TV tuned to the wrong source. Use the source button on the remote to choose the proper source, i.e. TV or Video (for DVD's) or HDMI for the Roku player. Additionally, if there is an A-B switch in the setup, make sure it is set to the right input
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:15 AM   #5
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She's gone back home and now I can't get the TV to come on at all. I talked to my mom on the phone today and she says sometimes she can't get it to work either.
It wouldn't happen to be a Samsung would it?

Samsung power defect causes some TVs to fail, and a class-action suit follows | TV and Home Theater - CNET Reviews
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:17 AM   #6
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Right. It sounds like the TV just needs to change inputs. There is a button on the remote, it might be called source, or labeled "tv/video". Press it repeatedly until the cable signal shows.

TV and internet on the same monitor can be done but it is complicated. If you want a simpler setup you can use the tv for streaming internet movies with Roku and regular tv, and use your computer for internet browsing, forums and such.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:07 AM   #7
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It often does get rather complicated, because these different boxes have to have the right inputs selected, everything has to be in the right state (easy to mess up and turn the TV on, but then turn the source box off or to the wrong setting and not know it). I also have a separate amp & speakers, and the routing between a Roku box, DVD, TV digital converter and TV is a total rats nest. I have a big wiring diagram, and if something changes it takes some work to figure out.

A possible 'solution' - I've seen that some of the newer TVs have a lot of this stuff built right in. Assuming they have a decent menu, this is probably pretty simple, but I have not used one myself. But I plan to look into when one of our TVs dies.

-ERD50
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:35 AM   #8
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It often does get rather complicated, because these different boxes have to have the right inputs selected...
True.

I have a sat system which provides input to my four "TV's" in different places within our home (one is a computer, with a tuner card).

During the install, the tech was insistant to "get it right" with the respective remote. As you may know, any TV (with a tuner) becomes nothing more than an output device (e.g. monitor) which will display whatever input is "pointed" at it.

On our family room "monitor", we have TV, VCR, DVD, PC, and a few other devices being driven from one remote (the others were put in a drawer, and only used if we need their batteries ).

As we have found, the success of your installation/use is the "quality" of your (in our case) sat system tech.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:18 AM   #9
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It's really nothing more than the same concept as your stereo. You turn it on, and you select what you want to play (radio, CD, phono, tape) and you have to turn the selected device on too, and then choose which CD or whatever to play. TVs may just not be as obvious how to select the device, or figure out which device is in which input slot (though with most TVs you can edit the label used). You may also have to do something different for audio as well as video if you have audio through your stereo. But if you could figure out your stereo, you can figure out your TV.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:45 AM   #10
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I have satellite, jukebox, dvd player and vhs recorder all hooked up to an old TV - 2 antenna/cable feeds plus 2 video feeds. When we do home swaps, we have an operating manual but it seems that most people will not read.

A couple of stories:
1) I stay with a friend often when visiting kids/grandkids and he has a sophisticated setup but has a Harmony remote to handle it all. I arrived before he got home so I had the set working by powering the components individually. He was impressed that I had figured it all out.
2) Dad came to our place to dog sit and spent 2 weeks without TV because I had failed to indicate that the power button had to be held down for 5 seconds. He had not bothered to call us! There was an old TV in the bedroom that he watched.

Of course now TVs have a list of inputs covering multiple HDMI, video, VGA, and component inputs, not to mention Channel 3/4.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:48 AM   #11
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To the OP, what? No Slingbox added in for even more variety?


Just kidding of course. What happened to the good old days when there were only a few ways of getting a brodcast? The irony I think is all this timeshifting and sources to view content can take the joy out of the simple experience.

BTW..My current setup:

1) Main tube (TV hooked up to OTA DVR hooked up to self-built indoor antenna). Slingbox currently unplugged and not used.

2) Desktop computer adjacent to TV for streaming (Amazon Prime)

3) temporary: Adjacent to desktop computer (TV hooked up to VCR and DVD/VCR and DVD recorder).

Goal is to eventually transfer all my VHS tapes to DVD, then get rid of #3, connecting DVD recorder to #1, so I can burn copies of DVR programs I wish to keep.
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Old 06-24-2012, 02:07 PM   #12
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A possible 'solution' - I've seen that some of the newer TVs have a lot of this stuff built right in. Assuming they have a decent menu, this is probably pretty simple, but I have not used one myself. But I plan to look into when one of our TVs dies.

-ERD50

That's what I'd recommend for OP.

My system is so complicated I'll probably have to simplify it before I get too old to operate it. Kind of high maintenance when the family needs help doing something out of the ordinary. Not to mention finding enough power sockets and tracing through the rat's nest of wires when I have to add one more piece.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:08 PM   #13
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well, as a matter of fact it is a Samsung, but the model number isn't listed in that article.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:15 PM   #14
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It's really nothing more than the same concept as your stereo. You turn it on, and you select what you want to play (radio, CD, phono, tape) and you have to turn the selected device on too, and then choose which CD or whatever to play. TVs may just not be as obvious how to select the device, or figure out which device is in which input slot (though with most TVs you can edit the label used). You may also have to do something different for audio as well as video if you have audio through your stereo. But if you could figure out your stereo, you can figure out your TV.
hehehehe I don't have a stereo either. I had one as a college student and I think replaced the amplifier (?) once after I graduated, but that system died more than ten years ago and was replaced with a boom box/cassette player. But that was still only two boxes with one set of cables between them, not the rat's nest so aptly described by animorph and ERD50.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:24 PM   #15
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I have satellite, roku, and broadband. its all in the learning curve. I'll bet you didn't know how to use a computer the first time you sat down in front of it. If you really wanted to you could get a remote to run all of them at the same time.
Yeah, learning curve is part of it and also that the system was set up by someone else (my late father) who is no longer available to set it straight when it gets out of kilter. Maybe if I had set it up myself and/or knew where the manuals were or if there was a diagram of which wires should go where, I wouldn't be so intimidated by the thing.

I sort of like ERD50's idea of an all-in-one device--but that has the problem that if one function fails you have to replace the whole thing including the parts that still work just fine.....well, I have lots of time to think about it yet.
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