My Resolution: Take Charge of The TV

January 1, 2013
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My Resolution - Taking Charge of the TVI’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?”

“Anything.”

“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.

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10 Responses to My Resolution: Take Charge of The TV

  1. Dana Devereux on January 1, 2013 at 10:26 am

    My sympathies, Ronna. Our family room tv system is far too complicated which forces me to watch the “simple” tv in our kitchen.I’m in big trouble if someone comes over to watch something in our family room and I’m the only one home! Happy new year! Dana

    • Ronna Benjamin on January 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      Exactly! It is so embarrassing- can’t let anyone know that we don’t know how to use the TV in our own home!

  2. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs on January 1, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Ha! Impeccable timing on this! I just two nights ago had a very similar lesson from my husband…on our TV in the den (well, we call it the study). With the bazillion remotes, I asked if he’d mind if I just dabbed a bit of red nail polish on the buttons I needed to know. His response? “Well, those are only for when you want to do X. It all changes when you want to do Y.”

    Still can’t figure the darn thing out. (Fortunately, I do know how to work the bigger and better TV in the family room.)

    • Ronna Benjamin on January 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      It feels like it gets more confusing every day- each time a new technology comes out, we have to have it!

  3. Helene Bludman on January 1, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Thank goodness it isn’t just me who feels like an idiot with the TV! If something goes wrong, I’m doomed unless my husband is there to fix it. He has explained it to me so many times but I apparently don’t have the mental capacity to understand.

    • Ronna Benjamin on January 1, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      It really does make you feel like an idiot! Makes me crazy!

  4. Lisa Cohen on January 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I totally relate! Absolutely hysterical!

  5. Lil blinder on January 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    OMG you must have inherited the no tech gene from me. Please forgive me but I still can’t get regular tv programming but maybe it’s the guy who set it up and set yours up too. Love

  6. Haralee on January 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Oh yes, we have 3 remotes to get the TV on and a fourth to watch a DVD. It is amazing to remember long ago when you used to be able turn the TV on with one remote or even pre-remote and had to get up to change channels.

    • Ronna Benjamin on January 2, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      Oh….you mean the good old days….I would GLADLY get up to change the station!

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