I’m not stupid. I graduated college, went to law school and passed the bar (the first time). I’m not “out of it” as far as technology goes. I can make Siri take me home or give me a reminder when I pull into the garage. I read on my iPad, I post to Facebook and I Tweet.
So why is it that I cannot operate our TV? If I am home by myself, I want to be able to watch a movie. I want to be able to watch the last two episodes of the first season of Girls before the next season begins–without the whole family around (if you watch Girls, you know why.)
I know there are important things I should resolve to do this year. I should be more patient, visit my grandmother, call my mother, and find out what is up with that Dr. Oz Green Coffee Diet. But I really want to be able to use our TV.
I sought out my husband, the Yoda of our home electronics. Would he be so kind as to instruct me on the ways of our home televisions?
“All the TVs?” he asked incredulously.
“No. Just the den TV.” One baby step at a time.
“Commence this lesson immediately, let us.” I think I heard him say.
He began by holding up four remotes like a hand of playing cards. I could not stop thinking, “This little piggy goes to market.”
He began the lesson. “This black remote is for the PlayStation, but it also doubles as the DVD player if you want to watch a movie.”
I was so busy taking notes that I didn’t mind that he was talking to me as if I were a moron. He pointed to a thin, silver remote. “This remote doesn’t look like any of the others. It’s for the Apple TV–the internet connected television interface.” He could see the despair creeping to my face. “That’s how you watch Netflix,” he explained.
“OK,” I scolded, ” but please don’t use phrases like, ‘internet connected television interface.’ It makes me tense.” I didn’t mention that I was already confused, because he had just told me that the first remote was for watching movies, and aren’t Netflix movies?
But there would be time for questions later. “Ok, the Apple TV remote is for Netflix. Go on.”
“The third remote is for the TV. Only use this remote to select input, but also for volume control. It has no other function. Except that the volume can also be regulated by the cable remote.” I rubbed my hands to uncramp them. I had not taken notes like this since 1983.
“The last remote–the big silver one–is for the Cable. This changes the cable box. This is for watching TV and Video on Demand.”
I wanted to grab the large silver remote and hit him over the head. “Can you just tell me how I watch TV?” I asked.
“What didn’t you understand?”
“OK, to watch TV, you turn on the TV with the either the TV remote or the cable remote, and you change the station with the cable remote.” Got it.
When I asked how I could watch a movie, he answered the question with a question, “In what format? Netflix Instant? Cable on Demand? DVD?” What ever happened to the VHS? I understood the VHS. I told him to start with Netflix instant.
“You get Netflix instant movies with the Apple TV remote. Select DVD. Turn on the Apple TV by pressing any button on the Apple TV remote. Go to the main Apple TV ‘menu’ then scroll to Netflix- it’s Apple so it was made for idiots.” I know he meant no offense, but I knew I would not attempt a Netflix movie for awhile.
“How do I watch Girls?” I asked.
“Select Cable on the input on the big black remote. Select Video on Demand on silver remote. Press ‘ok’ and let it load. Press ‘Premium Movie Channels’; Press ‘HBO on Demand’; Press ‘HBO series’; Scroll to ‘Girls’; press ‘ok.’ Except one more thing. The PlayStation and the Apple TV are on the same input, so if they are both on, you need to choose one of them on the little teeny remote that I keep by the TV that is only used for this purpose.”
A fifth remote? I’d rather resolve to lose five pounds. Besides, I like to read.