It’s tricky business trying to go high-def

Wally’s World

Say hey! I have a new high definition TV!

With all the excitement of a 3-year-old beholding his first puppy, I plugged it in, connected to my DirecTV receiver and settled back to initiate my latest toy.

But alas, there’s nothing. No picture. Just snow.

So, profoundly disappointed, I got on the phone to DirecTV, where I was put on hold for the better part of 15 minutes, waiting for a “technical assistant” and listening to the most God-awful rap music ever recorded. Eventually, a lady in North Carolina answered. She could barely speak English, but I managed to decipher every other word. A few seconds into our conversation, I realized this “technical assistant” knew even less about the problem than I did. However, as best I could, I followed her instructions, checking this and that and punching various buttons on the remote. Still, nothing. Finally she said there was nothing wrong with the satellite connection and suggested I call the TV company. Like a proper gentleman, I thanked her.

And I was on the phone to Sylvania TV and 15 minutes of Muzac; like, Andy Williams singing “Moon River,” which is a lovely song, but his rendition is terrible. (Then again, it was definitely better than the God-awful rap.) I talked to a dude in New Mexico who, I shortly discovered, knew next to nothing about Sylvania TV, model #LC200SL9. However, I followed instructions and patiently punched more remote buttons than any four Microsoft programmers had ever seen. But it was all for naught. Still, no picture. The dude concluded there might be something wrong with the TV and suggested I take it back to the dealer. Or, as a second option, check again with DirecTV.

Needless to say, I chose the latter. After another 15 minutes of incomprehensible pop junk, a lady in L.A. answered. We babbled on about one damn thing or another and she finally decided I need a new “red, yellow, and white cable” that I could buy at any Radio Shack. I thanked her.

So I bounced down to “the Shack,” where I talked with Dee. And friends, I’m happy to report, he understood the problem: There was something wrong with my receiver. He also said I couldn’t get high definition without new cables and quite possibly a new dish.

I got back on the horn to DirecTV and, much to my surprise, spliced right through to a “tech assistant” without any delay. The lady was in San Francisco. I was hopeful simply because she was closer to home and my sentiments proved sound. She agreed with Dee. I needed a new receiver. In fact, as Dee had suspected, I needed a whole new system. (This little epic leads me to offer all of you some free advice: avoid dealing with “tech assistants” and, instead, just go down to Radio Shack and ask them what the hell is going on.)

I told her I wanted hi def. She said an employee would be sent to my house to install the necessary cables, dish and receiver. I asked if this service was also free. She said no, it would cost me a hundred bucks.

I thanked her.