January 9, 2005

Now in High-Definition!

If you are a regular reader of my site you may be thinking I’m on a consumer electronics binge at the moment. In truth, I sort of am. I fully expect that in a couple of months everything is going to be baby, baby and more baby! I’m looking forward to that and in preparation am trying to get things like a new TV and HDTV programming out of the way. I figure some time with a new video camera before baby arrives is a good thing.

On Friday I received our new television. We ordered a Sharp Aquos LC-45GD4U. The TV was easy to unpack, a little surprising given it’s size. We are using it purely as a display so didn’t need to bother with putting the detachable speakers on it. I had it up and running in a few minutes. The picture is absolutely stunning. The TV has a native resolution of 1920x1080 and the LCD panel gives crisp detail. I was able to plug my PC into the DVI port and had my home theater PC working quickly as well (however, I’m battling some problems with HDCP and the like so I’m still limited to 1280x1024).

After getting the TV up and running and admiring the detail it was pretty clear that I needed to make a follow-on purchase and really dive into HD programming. I’m a TiVo junkie and can’t stand watching live TV except for sporting events. So, I took the plunge and got the DirecTV HD TiVo unit. At this point I had a rewire project for my theater cabinet so I decided to do it right this time and put in some cable management and rerouted everything. This took a couple hours but I’m very pleased with the results. I also decided to retire my VHS and LaserDisc player. See ya guys, it was nice having you around.

The HD content over DirecTV is simple, it just shows up. But I needed an antennae and the one recommended to me by my friend Chris wasn’t available on the weekend. I’m impulsive and seek immediate gratification so I purchased a high-end Terk HTDVs outdoor antennae for too much money so I could have it right away that another friend Chad had read good things about. I ran a 50’ RG6 cable out of the house and just set the antennae on the balcony upstairs. I’ll mount it for real when winter is gone. So far though I’ve got great results. Here are the signal strengths I’m getting for local OTA (over the air) HD channels. (The strength measurement is done using the antenna test utility in the DVR.)

Station Freq Strength
KMWB 22 50
WFTC 21 90
KPXM 40 65
KARE 35 90
KTCA 34 92
KTCI 16 85
KSTC 44 90
WCCO 32 88
KMSP 26 85
KSTP 50 90

I’m all set now to enjoy the Vikings/Packers game in full HD! The picture is amazing.


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Baby Update We had our second ultrasound appointment yesterday. It was amazing to see how much the baby had grown in the last 8 weeks. In the first ultrasound