Going Knology for HDTV

I figure that I owed folks an update [because some of my friends are looking] on what it’s going to take for me to go HD.

I called Alan Davis at Knology [phone number available upon request; leave a comment and I’ll send you his number], and the differential pricing from where I was with Expanded Basic is +$9.99/mo to go to digital, +$9.99/mo to go HD, and then +$12.99/ea/mo for the two CableCARDs. “It’s expensive,” he warned me. [Yeah, a cable salesman who’s worried about charging the customer too much money. I really do like this guy.] So, when I look at the fact that I’m not going to be paying TiVo $20/mo. for the service, I’m essentially paying for the CableCARDs. I could do without it, but then I’d not have the dual-tuner goodness.

The lead time on the order right now will be a couple weeks. I should have this thing hooked up before the Super Bowl, then. 🙂

[Anyone need an old 19″ analog TV? I’ll move it for next to nothing.]

Going HD

Even as recently as a few weeks ago, when talking with Stephen about what they were going to do to replace the equipment they lost when their house was struck by lightning in August, I was saying, “I just can’t see doing the HD thing. Not only is there a capital outlay involved, but there’s a definite marginal cost of content involved, too.”

Yeah, well, I caved. Work took care of the capital for me with an unexpected bonus, from which I’ve bought a TiVo HD [with their offer to current subscribers of a lifetime subscription] that’s due to hit my doorstep tomorrow and a 32″ Vizio HDTV [okay, I haven’t bought it yet, but I’ve decided on it and will get it at Sam’s Club], amongst other things. [Thanks, Marty!] With my TiVo subscription costs going away [two TiVos at a multi-service discount runs me about $20/mo with taxes], I can justify it to myself.

I still haven’t decided if my non-over-the-air source of HD content is going to be DirecTV or Knology, the local cable company into which I’m locked in my neighborhood. I am leaning towards DirecTV mainly for their sports programming [sure, it’s a monopoly, but it’s a monopoly I want to tap], but I haven’t decided for sure. I will use over-the-air HD from the local providers and standard-definition from Knology [which I get for free, thanks to my HOA] in the meantime. Complicating factors will involve pairing up the TiVo HD with whatever receiver I have to use from either provider.

What kicked me over the edge? Well, it was the infusion of capital combined with the knowledge that 17 Feb 2009 is looming. Unless the WGA strike breaks the networks in the meantime, there’s too much network content that I enjoy in HD that I know that I won’t enjoy down-converted into 4:3, standard definition shots.

The other minor upshot is that I can slave my old [presently ailing, although hopefully back up to par] Mac mini to the new TV and offload the old Sony LCD I’ve been using on it since I got the new mini a few weeks ago. Between that and Screen Sharing in Leopard, I’ll be find to not have a traditional monitor slaved to that mini.

Rescue Me Gets Fifth Season!

After how the fourth season went, I wasn’t sure if Rescue Me would get another season. After all, every other season had seen a renewal before the previous one was finish, and then we went a few months before we heard anything about the show’s future. In that time, Andrea Roth has joined Lost [and has also done some guest starring work on Numb3rs]. But indeed, Rescue Me has gotten a fifth season, with a 22-episode order. It remains to be seen whether or not the 22 episodes will be aired at once or in two distinct seasons, as FX did with The Shield.

CBS’s The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory on CBS - image from TVGuide.com A hot girl moves in next door to a couple of nerds. Sounds like my dream come true. I found the writing interesting to a point. The secondary characters are probably more interesting than the two main ones at this point, because while they build on stereotypes [the shy guy who can’t say a single word to a woman, the geek who thinks he’s a Lothario because he speaks a half-dozen languages and can sing karaoke], they’re at least semi-interesting ones to plot and weren’t run over by the laugh track.

Oh my holy heck, the laugh track. Whoever decided that this show needed one was an idiot. The people who watch this show are either going to be smart enough to get the brainy humor [whether or not they really understand it] or not. Putting a laugh track in there tells that part of the audience, “See! We were funny there!” STFU.

In many ways, being stuck behind How I Met Your Mother—a startlingly well-written sitcom about relationships written more with men in mind than, say, Friends ever was—is a detriment to this show. I might not have minded the heavy-handed sitcommy stuff if I hadn’t had the third season premiere of HIMYM as a lead-in.

Best moment of the whole show: the extended conversation as the depantsed main characters, Leonard and Shelden, go up the stairs. Most shows would have avoided that awkward moment [multiple shots of a nerdy guy’s butt in his not-so-tighty-whities], but this one embraced it. That leads me to think that maybe the writers and producers don’t completely suck on this show. In fact, that they were willing to do that scene is the only reason that I’ve set my TiVo to record it again. After all, many pilots try way too hard.

The CW Is Dead to Me

Between the ending of Gilmore Girls and the cancellation of Veronica Mars, the only CW show that I watch is Beauty and the Geek. I have decided, however, to take a principled stand: if they were going to cancel VM—GG ended of its own accord—I was going to quit watching B&tG. As such, my TiVos are now set to fully ignore the local CW affiliate.

You might think I’m crazy. I’m just a drop in the bucket. But in kowtowing more to the bottom line—the short-term point of view—than the quality of the shows on the channel—the long-term point of view—the CW convinced me that they’re not worth my time.

If nothing else, it makes me feel better, which is typically 90% of the point of protests anyway. Besides, everyone needs something to be visibly and viscerally angry about, if for no other reason than to vent pent-up aggressions that otherwise eat at the body. Certainly none of the underlying problems are solved, but sometimes, you gotta whomp on something to get over it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find Clarence Weidman’s number to have him do a little “business” for me.

Rescue Me Season Four Premiere Moved to June 13th

TVSquad is reporting some changes in FX’s lineup for the summer, which includes news about our belove Rescue Me:

Plus, FX has suddenly changed its mind about Rescue Me‘s placement on the schedule. This weekend, I told you that the premiere date was set for Tuesday, June 12th. Well, as of today that premiere has been bumped back to Wednesday, June 13th and Rescue Me will air on Wednesdays at 10 pm through the summer.

Now, my TiVo will pick it up on either date, but for those of you who make time to watch shows in real time, you’ll want to make a note of this. [Understand that the “10 pm” is the ET/PT timeslot and adjust accordingly.]

Rescue Me Season 3 DVD Release Date

No release date for the season 3 DVD for Rescue Me has been announced. As soon as it is, I’ll update this entry.

Because all questions coming in to my old Season Three entry relate to this topic, I’m closing comments there.

Update, 9 Mar 2007: Amazon.com has a page up for Rescue Me: The Complete Third Season. There’s a place there to sign up for info as it’s known. Worth doing, I’d say.

Update, 26 Mar 2007: It’ll be out June 5, 2007, a week before Season 4 starts on FX.

Rescue Me: Fourth Season Starts 12 13 Jun 2007

According to TVIV’s page for Rescue Me, the fourth season will premiere on 12 Jun 2007. There’s still no definitive word on a release date for the season three DVD, but given when the first and second season releases have happened, I don’t expect it anytime before mid-May 2007.

Why the long wait? I think the fine folks at Apostle understand that we’ll slavishly buy the DVDs and watch each of the old episodes a couple of times before the next season re-airs, building all the anticipation that you need for a summertime-release show. If they put the DVDs out in time for, say, Christmas … well, you might not anticipate the summer show so much. While TiVo and time-shifting-via-DVR in general have made it far easier to stay current with shows—and kudos must go out to FX for re-airing each week’s episode multiple times before the next week hits—it’s just harder for a show that airs new episodes only in the summertime to get an audience, because of all the other things you could be doing on a summer evening besides planting your ass on the couch to watch Tommy, Garrity, Lou, and Franco, y’know?

Update, 6 Feb 2007: It’s my understanding that the show goes into production on Thu 8 Feb 2007.

Update, 9 May 2007: The premiere has moved back one day, as noted elsewhere on this site. And if you were looking for the season three DVD release date, it’s 5 Jun 2007. As TV-on-DVD releases typically happen on Tuesdays, it won’t move concomitantly with the timeslot change.

Re-wired

An immediate benefit of my decision to time-shift much of the TV that I watch to the weekend is that I took time I’d have otherwise spent watching TV to re-wire my home network, moving the cable modem upstairs and finally re-connecting my wireless router [rather than the wired router I’ve used for the past month or two] to the network. It took a little doing—I had to call in to Knology to register a new MAC address, because even cloning what was on the old router wasn’t working, and I started a second call and had just gotten the tech support rep on the line when VOILA! it came online—but now I’m back up and running.

Of course, I lost the IP address I’d had since moving here in the process, but … no loss there, really. Now I must go downstairs and pick up my roommate’s network cable and bring it up here, as something tells me that he’d like to continue to have access.

Rescue Me: Season Three DVD

No, I don’t know when it will come out.

I don’t expect it before March 2007, given when the first and second seasons have come out on DVD.

When I find out, I will edit this post to reflect that. If you have verifiable information, post it in the comments.

Update 30 Dec 2006: Given a mid-June premiere for Season Four, don’t expect the DVDs out before mid-May or so.