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    Everything's Changing - Part 2

    So I talked to you last week about all the new gizmos I have in the way of telephones. In fact I spoke to my mom for about an hour today on my internet phone. I’m happy to report she’s coming here for the Jewish New Year at the end of the month. So I will see her soon. (Yay!)

    What I want to talk about this week is the new way of watching TV these days. I not only have a VCR and DVD player, I now also have what’s called a DVR, which stands for Digital Video Recorder. It actually records more than 80 hours of shows and I can record two things on different channels at the same time. This is a good thing because so many of the premiers I want to watch are on at the same time.

    Herman was insistent on keeping the VCR as well as the DVD in the bedroom so we can still record on tape easily.

    Terry, my aide who is with me eight hours daily, in her words, “I want to know nothing about how to run this DVR.” So Herman is in charge of recording and playing shows back on the machine.

    As I’m writing this to you on Tuesday the 16th of September I’m reminded that the new TV show “House” is premiering tonight at 8 p.m. I’m going to have to have Herman record it as we’ll be in Gloversville for me friend Mike Lewy’s memorial service as he sadly died in an accident this past July.

    Besides the DVR, Herman also got me flat screen TVs and new digital stations with high definition broadcasts.

    I don’t actually see the difference in the picture, but Herman says he does.

    What I especially like about the DVR is that it can fast forward at lightning speed through commercials and in addition he has hooked up my stereo speakers so it has a “surround sound” home theater effect for great sound.

    Another feature of the DVR is it can be set up easily to record a show “any time it is on” so even if you don’t know the time, it will tape it.

    I surprised myself in that I like this new digital stuff a lot, and I ordinarily don’t like change. This has been a theme that has run in my family. I resist the change until I experience it and decide for myself whether it is a good thing.

    They tell me all TV broadcasts will be digital as of February 2009, so regular TV antennas will no longer work without an adapter. There is a program so that folks with antenna reception can get $40 towards a TV adapter by requesting it.

    According to www.hdtvprofessor.com:

    The rebate — which will be $40 — only applies to converter boxes that you’ll be able to purchase next year to process a digital broadcast signal so that it can be viewed on an existing analog television set (most likely a picture tube set).

    I don’t really know the difference between analog and digital, but like electricity, which I don’t understand, I still use every day.

    The new TVs are not eligible for any government rebate. The rebate is intended to help the small part of the population who only get their TV over the air (not cable or satellite) and can not or do not choose to replace their television with a new model that includes a digital tuner. The converter boxes will not transform the old TV into an HDTV; it will still be standard resolution, but it will be able to receive digital over-the-air broadcasts.

    For more information on the rebate coupon program, check out this site: www.ntia.doc.gov/dtvcoupon/index.

    So however you choose to watch TV, enjoy it – I know I do.

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com