Friday, March 21, 2014

When Your TV is Smarter Than You Are...

I do believe that I just wrote about how much I despise change. I must have decided that I needed to challenge myself. Because I bought a new TV. A "Smart" TV. I didn't even know what a "Smart TV" was a few short months ago.

I wandered into an electronics super store one day in January thinking that I would just like to buy the cheapest TV that I could find so that I could hook up the PVR that was in my son's room (so that I could tape Grey's Anatomy - the one television show that I try to watch).

I wandered through the TV aisles looking for "small" and "cheap". Then a salesman asked me if I needed help so I started asking a few questions. TV's are a very low priority item in my life and I am perfectly content with the 12" tube TV's that adorn several of our rooms. So I just wondered aloud about these flat screen plasma or LCD or LED monstrosities before me.

The only electronic acronym I was relatively familiar with was VCR. The fact of the matter is that I simply cannot keep VCR's alive and running in our home (I think it has a little bit to do with small people who do things they are not supposed to do when my back is turned), which was why I was in the store in the first place. I simply wanted to tape Grey's Anatomy.

This kind and patient sale clerk talked about the various options and introduced me to a Smart TV. Hmmmm. Now this looked intriguing. I had to go home and think about this.

When I went home, I googled "Grey's Anatomy" and found out that they would not be airing a new episode until February 27th, so I immediately filed the need for a new TV under "forget" and saved my brain cells any further discomfort.

Then little things started to happen ...

My son convinced me to try the 30 day free trial for NetFlix over the Christmas break. He set it up easily on his state-of-the-art TV but with it took a little ingenuity to get it working on my ancient little 12" TV upstairs. But he did it, utilizing our dusty old Wii game.

I watched a grand total of one movie and a few episodes of "How I Met Your Mother". Then I discovered the wealth of KidsTV within the NetFlix selection. I didn't overuse it to entertain my daycare crowd throughout the -40 days months of our (seemingly) endless winter, but it sure was a nice option.

Add the convenience of NetFlix to my daycare crowd's enjoyment of singing, dancing and acting out Patty Shukla's action songs on YouTube and you see where I am going ...

This all came to a head on Monday. Because of one thing. The return of Dancing With the Stars. I like watching DWTS but I hate being tied down to a TV schedule. I wanted to tape it. But all of our VCR's are broken. I was suddenly back to where I was in January.

So ... I went online and ordered myself a Smart TV. I had been mulling over the idea for several months and could not talk myself out of the idea that this was the best usage of my television dollars. Not only will my daycare family be able to be entertained by Patty Shukla on a 'big screen' (we have graduated to a 32" TV!!), but (the absolute bestest thing in the world!!) they cannot touch any buttons!!

My son traded his unused PVR for my small digital cable box. It has ONE button on it. No slots to stick toys and fingers into. No DVD disc tray to open. No array of buttons within the reach of a one-year-old-on-their-tippy-toes. Simply ONE button! I am over the moon!

Last night became the first night for the rest of my life. I sat down and talked with our new Smart TV. WOW! It knows things!! It knows so very much more than I do. I can see where it got its name.

At this very moment, I am relistening to a conversation that I had with our internet provider's tech-guy the other night (my email stopped working on my phone). He asked me, "Do you have a Smart phone?" I happened to be all-consumed with the trouble at hand and overwhelmed at the idea of deleting and resetting my email at the time. The words that fell off my tongue were, "I don't know how smart it is ..." The poor guy was at the end of his shift and he kindly handed me over to some innocent soul (probably with the precursor that he was dealing with a lady as ancient as her old tube TV's and that this could take a while).

To give myself just a little bit of credit, I did manage to speed through the process of doing what it took to fix my email program. But in answer to the tech-guy's question I could probably now answer "Well, my phone is smarter than I am."

Now? We have a Smart TV as well. It is a pretty sad state of affairs when your appliances have a higher IQ than you do. It seems to be the way of the world these days. Smart appliances. Phones that do everything for you so you barely have to think any more. I am very afraid that my brain is going to slow down to a crawl because all of my answers are at my fingertips.

In the old days (when I was growing up), the right answer a parent gave their child when they didn't know the answer was "I don't know, but I will find out for you". Nowadays? My answer is "I don't know. Why don't you Google it?"

Suddenly that (Walt Disney) Huey, Dewey and Louie book about robots taking over the world is not seeming so far fetched. My phone is already 'talking to' the TV. What's next!?!?

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