Archive | December 2012

How to turn on the television: A lesson in home gymnastics

Having trouble with your cable and/or remote control?  Fed up that your universal remote doesn’t operate your home entertainment devices as it should?  Tired of pressing that power button and having the TV switch on, but not the cable box?  Or, the cable box switching on, but not the TV?  Sick of the electronic boxing match?  Well, bid farewell to your frustration my friends, for I have the answers.

Your cable box and TV can be switched on at the same time using one button on the universal remote.  The window for this is small, so you must be in exactly the right spot in the room to make this happen.  If simple efforts, like pointing the remote at the systems and pressing “ON” don’t work,  try the following:

1).  Stand three feet in front of the equipment and center yourself.  Aim the remote in a neutral position between the two devices.  Press the power button.  Experience disappointment when this doesn’t work.

2). Stand three feet away and two inches to the right.  Press the power button.  Experience further disappointment.

3). Stand three feet away and two inches to the left.  Press the power button.  Curse your luck that you’re missing Dr. Phil.

4). Stand two feet away and three inches to the right.  Stand two feet away and three inches to the left.  Stand four feet away and ¼ inch to the right.  Stand one foot away and ½ inch to the left.  Stand on one foot.

5). Sit on the back of the couch like it’s a perch.  Dangle upside-down from the ceiling like a vampire bat.  Do ballet.  Be a figure skater, coast across the floor and press the power button just as you complete a triple axel.  Try a head-stand (hand-stands won’t work unless you can hold the remote in your mouth and press the power button with your teeth).

6). Talk to the remote.  Calmly and sensitively.  Explain to the remote how important it is to the family.  Tell it that you aren’t angry with it, you’re disappointed in it.  If it doesn’t respond, send it to its drawer for the night without batteries.

7). Call the cable company, just for a soothing laugh.  The customer service representative who handles your call will most likely sound like he’s all of 15 years old, will do his best to speak English, and tell you that his name is “Bob.”

8). Cancel your cable subscription and read a book.

It never used to be this complicated.  Television sets in the pioneer days didn’t come with a remote control.  One had to get out of his or her chair and actually walk over to the television and switch it on manually…that is, with their bare hands.

Back then, if the TV didn’t come on, bare hands were used to smack the sides of it, push it, shake it, and pound its top until it came to life.  The picture looked like hell, but was better than a dark screen, we always thought.

Otherwise, we’d have to read a book.