Tuesday, October 25, 2005


For my birthday this year, my dad gave me a home theater/surround sound system. The system is complete with a 5-disc DVD changer and 6 speakers (one being a rather large subwoofer). He saw me look at a system similar to this about four years ago and remembered it being something I might be interested in.

The system is extremely fun and I'm enjoying watching a few movies on my days off. DM helped me bring the components into my apartment on Sunday night and watched me assemble the parts, getting the entire system hooked up amongst the array of random cords behind my television.

When I pulled the DVD player out of the box and unwrapped it, DM made a comment that it looked like it should be part of a spacecraft. It is shiny and silver and has a lot of buttons on the front of it. We kept joking that this system seems like it should do more than just enhance the movie watching experience, something more like warp beaming us somewhere.

The reason I write about the system has little to do with the system itself. I am a bit proud of the fact I can hook up a system like this without assistance and was able to configure it into the setup around my TV. I was able to get the two gaming systems working (so I can play Tetris. I adore Tetris. I could sit for hours on end and just keep playing. The game relaxes me.) The VCR still works after adding more components to the mix. I just find it rather strange to see how many pieces of electrical equipment I have attached to my TV.

Why? Because my TV is only an 18-inch television. The remote for it stopped working at some point while I lived with Adam and it is cable ready, but does not have the video/audio outlets on it. I've had this TV since I was eight. I guess nineteen years is not a bad run for a television these days. To hook anything beside the VCR (which I've only had for probably thirteen years), I need two separate adapters. Over time I've learned that adapters are much cheaper than replacing the television.

I know I should replace the TV soon, but it is good luck. Amazingly enough, this TV has made it through 10 moves (a few with my folks and a few trips back and forth to the dorms during my first stint of college - the time when I tried to go in person and not online). A different TV I owned didn't even make it one trip.

It just seems odd to me to have so much more recent technology attached to this old set. I made the analogy to Liz and James at karaoke on Sunday night that it was like putting personalized license plates and spinning rims on a Geo Metro. Sure, a Geo Metro runs, but does it need to be "pimped" out?

Someday I will buy a new TV. Right now I'll just enjoy surround sound (at a quieter level since I do live in an apartment and need to be courteous to my neighbors) while I watch my movies on a smaller screen.


The rest of the story, besides the fact I feel that the system is a bit of overkill, is the fact that once I hooked up the system, DM and I found the speakers to work, but the DVD-player itself was defective. We attempted to watch a movie during the afternoon and the machine would not load the DVD and shot it across the tray, scratching it. I am a bit disappointed that one of my favorite movies (because it is cheesy and not too serious) was damaged. The movie is Independence Day.

I called my dad and he was able to produce the receipt for the system. I contacted Best Buy and made sure it was okay to only return the player to the store (because packing up all the speakers after having set them up would have been quite annoying). DM and I went to one Best Buy and they did not have the item in stock. Then we traveled to another store and was able to leave with a different shiny new DVD player. Dealing with defective merchandise was not something I wanted to do on a day off, but it is done now. I have to say I was pleased with the service I received from Best Buy today.

Another stop that DM and I made while out getting the replacement DVD-player was to ship my camera back to Sony. I seem to be having a problem with defective merchandise recently and my digital camera won't power on. It is under warranty and I hope to have it back soon. It has been quite awhile since it has worked (frequent readers of this site may have noticed a lack of pictures) and I do not like not having it.