Now THAT’S Entertainment!


This is our TV.

Our one and only TV.  I know some of you are suspiciously thinking, “Hey, that looks an awful lot like Alison’s one and only TV.” And you’re right. It does. But it’s not.

Before we moved to Halifax in 1998 we divested ourselves of all our stuff except for a few suitcases and boxes of essentials. Then we had fun getting new stuff once we got there. We picked up the TV from a Canadian Tire about 4 months after we moved.

The TV has a 13 inch screen. (Coincidentally, I once knew a guy wh….. er, nevermind).  So, our cute little TV sits unobtrusively in a corner with its perky, decorative rabbit ears antenna.

The cat loves to sit up there watching us while we’re watching TV. Sometimes his tail hangs down over the screen which drives my daughter crazy because it pretty much blocks out the whole picture – and the cat doesn’t have a particularly bushy tail.

She yells at him, “Move your tail!” And then he swishes it back and forth. This makes her even angrier because she believes he’s deliberately mocking her.  

I laugh and I laugh. It’s better than anything they’re actually broadcasting on the TV.

Anyway, I’ve never had cable in my life. I’ve never felt any impetus to sign up. I don’t like the whole idea of paying for cable.  I can get the 3 major national channels with the rabbit ears along with the provincial public broadcasting channel, a couple of local channels and a bunch of French channels.

The Francophones really seem to love shows where people film each other, their kids and/or their pets falling off or under stuff, tripping over stuff, bumping into stuff, getting injured, maimed, electrocuted, losing their clothing or being spotted doing crazy stuff while naked and/or urinating. As far as I can make out, there are at least half a dozen French Canadian versions of America’s Funniest Home Videos. On top of Juste Pour Rire, which I think is really awful and doesn’t make me rire at all. (Click link for video samples).

Sometimes,  I’ll look through the TV listings to see what I could be watching if I had cable and there’s almost never anything that I can’t already watch on the channels I have.

The kid, of course, is totally horrified, completely embarrassed and extremely fed up with our “home theatre system”. Every time we change the channel (and yes, we do have a remote control), she has to get up and adjust the rabbit ears, shift the TV and find a place to sit that doesn’t interfere with the airwaves.

Her exasperated grumblings and exhortations are also always quite entertaining.

And then there’s the ultimate good time of getting ready to watch a DVD. The TV needs to get hooked up a VCR player, which then hooks up to a DVD player. Coaxial and perhaps some other sorts of cables are involved, I think.  (I let the kid take care of this too since she does it so much more often, she’s gotten to be a pro). Everything then needs to be plugged into the wall. And then it all needs to be turned on. And then a video needs to be put into the VCR in order to start the whole thing rolling. Then the video is removed.

Only then can the DVD can be put into the DVD player player. Then the cables need to be adjusted for a clear picture. Then we get to watch a 13-inch movie.

Her friends don’t much like coming over to watch movies. Not that she would ever invite them specifically for that purpose. (Perish the thought).  It’s just that when teenagers gather and get bored of the computer, the only other thing they can think of to do is watch DVDs.

So, the kid has been lobbying mercilessly to a) get a new, bigger TV; and b) get cable.

Basic cable starts at around $30 a month + +. It’s not a lot, but the idea of being suckered into another stupid bill every month when I already pay a ridiculous amount of stupid money for internet, home phone and cell phones irks me. 

I think I could get away with not getting cable if I cave on the new TV. It’s probably high time anyway – especially in light of the upcoming digital conversion scam. BUT! Will I still be able to use my rabbit ears antenna with a fancy schmancy new digital TV?

I went to Industry Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs so that I could find out everything I needed to know about getting a new TV and now I’m scared. When did a television get so complicated?

So before I run out to Future Shop and end up slapping some condescending salesgeek, I would appreciate any tips, advice, inside information, warnings, opinions, suggestions and/or hilarious anecdotes.