Monday, January 30, 2006

I Have the Power

In my alter cyber entity Glass Incarnate I mentioned that I got a 60 gig iPod for Christmas from Santa (I was Very Good indeed!). I wanted it for music but I have now broken the technology barrier and this is the story about going from ABC/NBC/CBS to Battlestar Gallactica at the Apple iTunes store.


When I was young, there were three channels on tv: ABC, NBC and CBS. They ran their series from Labor Day through sometime in spring/summer, and then the re-runs began. My memory is that you could watch the entire season again in the summer and catch the episodes you missed because *there were no vcr's*. Forget Tivo. A technology which is already obsolete was not even around when I was growing up. Dinner was scheduled around the times of the hot shows. Saturday Night Live debuted when I was almost finished with high school. I was in my first apartment when MTV came out and couldn't afford the cable fee. Friends with cable and MTV were VERY popular for parties.

OK, I think that is enough history. You know where the bar was set for me. But I am a technologically malleable person. A geek even (I score pretty highly by Ren's standards anyway). But I was blown away last Friday by what is now available and even relatively easy to make work.

We all know most technology takes over your life and makes you easily as miserable as it makes you happy. A life improvement? I think not. Can you say Windows XP? And iTunes 5.0 which Apple thought should interface with Microsoft Outlook's calendar? What genius decided that was a necessary feature in a music playing application? Oh yes, and every. single. solitary. universal remote control you have ever owned. Even my favorite to date: The Home Theatre master MX-700. It worked great till we got a big tv with "source" and "picture size" settings which do not seem to be able to be learned, thus requiring we keep that remote. I did get the playstation 2 working on it, but it was a struggle. And now there is the iPod. I haven’t even tried. While I like my toys, I am not an early adopter. Let someone else's blood pressure suffer while they get the bugs out. Then I will try it out. That said, I was forced to Early Adopt this week and I am ECSTATIC!!!

We have Tivo. We got it early, but not first. Lots of friends had it and told us exactly how to set it up before we took the plunge. We did pop for the lifetime subscription so we have been reluctant to upgrade from our series one box, even though we have an HD TV and can't get HD through Tivo. Last year we Tivoed the new Battlestar Gallactica from the beginning. We watched it over dinner at our leisure and really liked it. This past fall I started Tivoing it and for whatever reason, we never watched. Dave finally bought the fall season of on dvd and we have been watching it again. And then I did a stupid thing. I did not realize the second half of the season we are watching started in January and I got ambitious and Cleaned Up The Tivo. Dave looked up just as I deleted the second episode and it was Too Late.

So I did what I always do when there is a geek show we really want to see and don't have it: I IM'd Jonathan and asked him if he still had it and could we get it from him. He is our ultimate geek and early adopter. He asked me didn't I get a video iPod for Christmas? I said, why yes, but it's for music. He said, go to the Apple Music store in iTunes (and I have been there a lot--the whole buy-almost-any-song-you-want for $.99 is very compelling) and the Battlestar episodes are up there for sale within a day or so after broadcast. And he was right, they are. And they cost $1.99 each. I was very skeptical about it working, but I figured I could invest $6 for the episodes we missed and give it a shot. I set the limit of the effort I was willing to put into it and only exceeded it by a little by needing to buy a new AV cable at the Apple Store because I couldn't find mine. So here's the process:

You go to the Music Store from within your iTunes software and you click on the link in the lower left for TV shows. There you will find Lost, the Office, Desperate Housewives, Battlestar... the list just goes on. You find what you want. You click the Buy Now button and the episode downloads to your computer. Figure about 200 mgs (according to Jonathan). Then you plug your iPod into your computer and copy the episode to it. At 200 mgs a pop you can get roughly *250 episodes* on the 60 gig iPod and still have room for the OS and some music...

But (yawn) I am not impressed yet. Getting the technology is always the easy part--it's trying to do anything with it that makes me want to run naked down the street with Dave's graton-edged santoku disemboweling all in my path. So without much hope but willing to be a good sport I used the new AV cable and hooked the iPod dock up to the receiver. Sure enough, when I turned it on I got sound but no video. *sigh*. But I gave it one more shot and looked in the video settings on the iPod just to see if there was a quick fix. Yes! There is a toggle setting "TV Out" which is off by default. I flipped it to on, AND THERE WAS PICTURE ON THE TV! Some would sneer at the 4:3 aspect ratio and 320 X 179 resolution, I say they are just spoiled and should be forced to go back to 1965 and CBS, NBC and ABC.

1 comment:

Bill Paley said...

Huzzah!