Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I Got My HDTV!

Now, before I get all crazy excited about the fix Charter Cable did, let me preface it with, "It weren't easy".

True to their word, the cable fix-it guy arrived here at the predesignated time. I explained the issue to him, and he studied the TV, cable box, and wires. He observed the "snow" on the screen, and then made this observation, " I've never seen that before. It isn't the cable, or the box. It's the TV."

What? The TV? The TV is brand new.

Of course I am not a cable guy, but there are some things that are just common sense. If the TV has a great picture when just the cable is plugged into the back of it without going through the cable box, and the actual cable has been changed out to a new one for that connection, then it is safe to surmise that the problem is in the cable box.

"No. It's the TV. I'd contact the manufacturer", the cable guy told me.

On the last cable guy visit he installed a signal amplifier in the basement that is designed to boost the cable signal to all the TV's in the house, so I know the signal is good. The TV is new, and although the chance that it is defective is there, I seriously doubt it since it has great reception without the the box.

Now, about that cable box. It is an older model HD box. It doesn't have the new HDMI port in the back of it to plug into the newer TV's. It has a component port, the ones that have the green, yellow, and blue cable cables. There are separate cables for audio as well. At the TV end there is, of course, an HDMI port, so I needed a combination cable to connect the box to the TV.

Very old school, and not the best thing to do, but is supposed to work fine. That box, and those connections were the only thing remaining in my quest to find an answer to the issue. The cable guy just kept saying, "It's the TV".

Finally, I asked him for a new cable box. He told me he was willing to try it, but it was, all together now, "The TV".

He went out to his truck, and came back in with a new box, I mean a really new box. A box that was not only HD, but had the HDMI port on the back, and it also had a different screen on the front hat at lit up as it processed HD format, and actually displayed the amount of resolution as well.

Now, this was a true HD cable box.

We removed the old box, and installed the new box in its place, connected it to the cable and the TV, turned it on, and...wait for it...wait for it....

It worked. It worked flawlessly. No snow. No bad reception. Crystal clear picture.

It was the box. So there.

The cable guy looked at the picture on the the TV, and said, without batting an eye, "It was the box".

I guess the lesson learned here is that even technicians can only go with the knowledge they are taught, and have absorbed with their experiences, they also are keen on preaching the company line when nothing else works. Use your intuition. If you suspect something other than what you are being told, then just insist on a new box, or what ever else you feel may be the problem.

Can't hurt.

The technician that came to our house last Friday was professional, courteous, and did have a knowledge base that was good, however, this was a new problem he had not run into before, and now I am sure he will add the "fix" to his repertoire.

My advice is if you are having issues with HDTV, and you have an older cable box as I did, ask Charter to change it out. I believe it will solve your problems. Keep in mind that Charter Communications filed for bankruptcy this past summer, and as they work to get their act together, they may not have enough of these boxes available to switch out.

Just one more thing to consider as it comes closer to the time to renew the towns contract with Charter. We certainly will not be renewing for another ten years, I am sure, and if Verizon FIOS joins the mix, great.


  1. It has been my experience that cable guys are idiots. My friend had the same cable box problem and the cable guy insisted it was “not the box”. Well when my friend said to take the whole system out surprise it was a clearly marked “broken” cable box they had installed that was the problem. Once the old box was replaced problem solved. Idiots plan and simple.

  2. Your friend must have had one of my 'broken" boxes.


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