digital converter box -- surprising performance

Bob Nelson
Sat Jun 14 12:27:15 EDT 2008

A friend of mine is legally blind (can see but not well enough to drive, for example). He doesn't want to
pay for cable but uses rabbit ears and recently got one of the converter boxes but hadn't hooked it up
yet. The rabbit ears cost him $75 (!) a little while back and he has them up against the window of
his Salem high rise apartment. Channels 2 and 4 don't come in at all; 5, barely, 7, well. Of the
UHFs he has better luck, even picking up stations like Ch 24 (low power?) as well as 25, 38, 44,
56, 66, 68, etc. I don't know what kind of recep he'll get with the digital tuner (I think he got
a Magnavox)--this is just with the rabbit ears. Will it be as good?

By the way I don't know if this is a sign of the "digital wonderland" as Harry Shearer jokingly
refers to on his public radio show "le Show", but yesterday my cable (Comcast) kept going out.
No, not the whole thing, but while the description of the channel and program (I have the $4/month
box--bought so I can record with DVD recorder) DID show up, there was a black screen and
"the program will resume shortly" on each and every channel. Maybe a slight outage, or they
were doing technical work, but is this a sign of the future?

You're watching the very end of World Series, NBA Championship, or whatever, and suddenly
the picture goes out thanks to this wonderful digital setup on your cable (or, if you
don't get cable, you can't get a signal at all). So much for modern technology.
That's Comcast-ic! :P)

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