Back Online After A Long Weekend, Totally Teched-Out & Largely Confused

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    Oct 18, 2010 1:48 PM GMT
    Perhaps an odd topic for the Tech Forum, but it was messing with technology that's mostly kept me involved for the last 4 or 5 days. The most time-consuming was the new home entertainment center (well, actually a bedroom entertainment center, but totally involving media, lest some of you more naughty-minded boys misunderstand me icon_wink.gif ).

    So this stuff started arriving over 2 days via FedEx, that I had ordered directly from Sony, at incredibly low prices with no sales tax and free shipping, that I couldn't match by either model or cost in local stores. And then I had to start figuring out how 3D HDTV works.

    You gotta realize, when I got my first bedroom TV as a kid in 1962, the only option you had in that smaller size was B&W, and the sole connection involved 2 screws for a flat antenna lead coming down from a rooftop antenna. Now I was facing literally dozens of outlets on all these components, and trying to understand what connects to what, the Sony components all wanting to use HDMI connections. (And I got nothing but Sony for compatibility, the components all able to "talk" to one another when you use HDMI cables, so if you activate one by any method they all know it and turn on or off as needed, all acting like a single unit)

    But our DirectTV satellite reception is still in low-def until we get that upgraded to HD, which I have scheduled for mid-November. So the connection diagrams in the Sony instructions didn't cover our current situation. Therefore, right now I've got a kind of half-and-half setup going on, until the DirectTV upgrade happens.

    But the connection from the 3D Blu-ray player is directly into the HDTV, and the 3D transmitter was correctly installed, to power the active 3D eyeglasses, so that part works great. And does it ever! My partner couldn't believe the 3D movies we were seeing. With incredible sound, though I can't fine-tune it while it remains as an interim analog connection, rather than HDMI, a little more theatre bass going on with Blu-ray disks than we like until I can tone it down.

    So that's what totally consumed me, along with getting a new digital still & video camera, whose details I won't go into here, especially since I haven't figured out more than a fraction of them myself. But likewise delivered via mail order (UPS) from a New York photographic company that I've dealt with for over 40 years.

    But I gotta tell ya, as I said to my partner, that I don't know how mere mortals are expected to understand all this stuff. I'm not exactly stupid, but it was a severe challenge for me to comprehend all this tech. I doubt very many other senior citizens would have a fighting chance against a Sony instruction manual.
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    Oct 19, 2010 12:19 AM GMT
    Well my partner is just so happy! He mostly watches TV in our bedroom, where he is right now, and where I set up the new entertainment center to be controlled with the same satellite remote control he knows.

    I'm not quite finished, though. I've made an appointment to upgrade our satellite dish to HD. Right now our only HD is the 3D Blu-ray player I got. When I get the new "box" and can HDMI daisy-chain it into the system, the full ability of this Sony entertainment system will come alive. I just have to wait until mid-November.

    It's been a challenge for me to understand all this stuff I never encountered before. But as I often say in one of my personal mottos: "I refuse to concede technology to children."

    I figure if a kid can understand all of this, so can I. And when I can no longer learn and grow, it's time to just gracefully exit the stage. But I hope it's not the final curtain yet...
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    Oct 23, 2010 12:07 AM GMT
    Mother of God!!! The HD satellite box arrived a little earlier today by UPS (I changed my mind about having a technician do the installation), and I managed to set it up. It takes 3 12-foot HDMI cables to interconnect the HD satellite box, the 3D Blu-ray player, the 3D HDTV, plus the surround speakers.

    Fortunately I found them at the local Apple Store, of all places, when I was getting a Firewire cable for the new iMac, at only 30% of the price that Best Buy wanted for them. And they're fully rated for 1080p and 3D.

    I'm kinda wasted, trying to figure all this stuff out. As I said somewhere else here, when I was a kid in 1962, and was thrilled to merely get a tabletop B&W TV in my bedroom, the only connection was 2 screws for a flat antenna lead from the rooftop antenna.

    So the first broadcast show my partner got to watch was Wheel of Fortune in HD, which he loves (and I hate), and I've got it set up so he controls it with the same satellite remote controller he's been using for 2 years. As far as he's concerned there's no learning curve. Except now he sees it in 1080 HD. This is what I want for him: enjoyment without stress.

    And at this moment he's watching To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar in HD on some satellite channel. Something else that interests me not in the least. But he's being entertained, so I'm happy. And I'm sitting here in the office, not watching his super TV, just glad that he's pleased.
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    Oct 23, 2010 1:58 PM GMT
    OK, got the final proof this morning that I did this stuff correctly. Last night I put the TV on sleep timer, and when it turned itself off it also turned off the Blu-ray player and the surround speakers. The only thing it can't turn off is the satellite box. Although if we use the sat remote, everything does turn off with 1 button.

    Then this morning a single button on the satellite remote turned on the TV, the speakers and the sat box itself. I've seen some home entertainment centers where you have to fumble with multiple on/off steps, and I didn't want that. And with my partner, believe me, I definitely didn't want that.

    The trick here, and why I mention this for the benefit of others who might be doing a similar installation, is using all HDMI connections between HD components. And also having "ARC" capability, which refers to return channel-something. Basically it gets all the devices talking to one another, effectively turning them into a single unit. The HDMI cables not only give the best HD quality, but they also permit this talk-back control capability.

    Plus just to be safe I also bought all Sony equipment. I suppose ARC conforms to some kind of industry standard, and would operate with devices from other manufacturers. But I didn't want to take any chances. And it works beautifully.

    Unfortunately, the 3 damn HDMI cables weren't cheap at the 12-foot length that I needed, but that was all that I needed. No other audio or supplemental cables.

    So I post this here for anyone who may be considering doing something similar. And if you have some comments about your own experience with this new technology.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 21, 2011 10:49 PM GMT
    Where are the current photos?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 21, 2011 10:51 PM GMT
    Dean_Aane saidWhere are the current photos?


    Stop subjecting the entire forum to your little hissy fit, please.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19138

    Nov 21, 2011 10:53 PM GMT
    showme said
    Dean_Aane saidWhere are the current photos?


    Stop subjecting the entire forum to your little hissy fit, please.



    Now c'mon, someone had to weigh in and say something. Arty was having a conversation with himself and there was an echo in the room icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 21, 2011 10:58 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    showme said
    Dean_Aane saidWhere are the current photos?


    Stop subjecting the entire forum to your little hissy fit, please.



    Now c'mon, someone had to weigh in and say something. Arty was having a conversation with himself and there was an echo in the room icon_wink.gif


    In 2010.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19138

    Nov 21, 2011 11:05 PM GMT
    showme said
    CuriousJockAZ said
    showme said
    Dean_Aane saidWhere are the current photos?


    Stop subjecting the entire forum to your little hissy fit, please.



    Now c'mon, someone had to weigh in and say something. Arty was having a conversation with himself and there was an echo in the room icon_wink.gif


    In 2010.



    Can I help it that it took someone -- ANYONE -- 2 years to respond to an Arty thread? I say better late than never. They are, after all, RJ treasures that should be given their proper due and not left to die in the RJ archives.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 22, 2011 12:24 AM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said

    Can I help it that it took someone -- ANYONE -- 2 years to respond.
    Thanks for validating the denseness of dean annie!