Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dad gets a new TV

Dad has mentioned that he can’t read the scores on the FSND (Fox Sports Network Detroit) station when he watches the Tigers play. I mentioned to him that it was because he needed a new TV. His 15 year old Magnavox 27” TV had seen better days. It still received a fair picture, but since the new Digital systems started, the picture just wasn’t as sharp as before, even with using the WOW Cable systems converter box.

Dad's 15 Year old Magnavox 27"

As he had already seen my new 55” Samsung HD with DIRECTV, he really enjoyed the new sharp pictures. So yesterday he agreed to go with me to Costco to “just look” at the TV sets. Of course all the sets are hooked up to their HD Cable systems, and they all have great, sharp, clear pictures.

He ended up choosing a 32” Samsung HD. We brought it home and I started removing the old TV and installing the new.

I was NOT  very pleased with the reception we were getting on the new set, so a call was made to WOW, his cable provider. Talking to a lady there resulted in a very frustrating conversation to say the least. Nothing accomplished.

I continued to adjust the settings on the new TV. Still not pleased, another phone call was made to WOW. The young man I talked to seem to know a little more than the previous rep did, but he still was not giving me the correct instructions. I could tell he was just reading it all off a computer screen, and even at that, didn’t seem to “really understand” our problem with the HD reception.

After explaining the conditions of reception to him numerous times, he finally seemed to understand. That only took 30 minutes. Baring teeth smile Then I was informed that if we wanted HD it would be another $12.00 added to his bill, which was already flirting with $100 per month for just TV and Phone service. I was at a dead end with WOW, so I just said good by, thanks, and hung up.

A phone call was made to Margie, my sister-in-law. They also have WOW and have had a HD TV for some time now. Talking to her for less than 10 minutes answered all my questions. I was doing everything right, WOW just can’t send a TV picture in full screen unless you pay for the HD package it seems. (On most of the channels we were getting a horizontal black line above and below the picture) Those black sections were on the channels he mostly watched , including the Tiger baseball channel! Totally not acceptable!

Going into the TV setup menu again, I found where to adjust the picture to fill the screen. That did it! Dad was happy, even though I wasn’t happy with the Non-HD picture. But that doesn’t count, just as long as Dad is happy.

Dad's new 32" Samsung LED TV

Until next time be safe and God Bless.


  1. Fred,

    It's not that they're not sending it in "full screen". They are sending standard definition at a square resolution called pan and in a scan 4:3 ration. What happens is this looks horrible on the new HD TV sets.

    You NEED at minimum 720p 1280x720 resolution which has an aspect ratio of 16:9. The higher resolution 1920x1080 which also has an aspect ration of 16:9.

    In the menu you found how to "stretch" the suare picture onto a widescreen TV, it fills the screen but as you found out it doesn't look better and it will look a b it stretched as well, if nobody notices then cool. :)

    No matter how much you pay for cable not all channels will be HD and therefore some will look horrible or just so so. Most channels have HD versions, Sport channels and Movie channels do for sure.

    If your father only has a standard cable box (WOW does it different than Comcast) then he'll need an HD one. If no Cable box is needed the switch to an HD package is needed or a switch to Dish or DirecTV but they have negatives as well.

    If you'd like, email me at v i k i n g 3 9 6 at comcast . net. Remove the spaces. I'll be glad to help out.


    1. Thank You for the information you furnished Erik. I just talked to Dad after a full day of watching the TV. He seems to accept it as is. Being 86, he just can't justify paying WOW another $12 per month for the High Def package. Myself, I would in a minute.
      Samsung's menu shows the 16:9, Zoom 1, Zoom 2, and the 4:3 choices for picture quality. The set is a 720p set. With the set in the 16:9 mode, you get the black spaces above and below the pictures on most of the channels. Switching to Zoom 1 fills in the entire screen, but, you loose about a half inch of the picture on the bottom. He doesn't seem to mind that though, me it would drive me crazy.
      It's all about price, you get what you pay for.