Wednesday, January 25, 2012

HD Digital TV and Airplanes

Last night while I watched President Obama's State of the Union speech, I noticed something spooky.  Airplanes flew over my building every few minutes on their approach to the airport 5-6 miles away.  But nothing was happening to the picture on my TV screen.  Spooky.

OK, I need to backtrack a bit, I can see.  I was a good citizen and bought an HD-ready digital TV about 5 months before the transition deadline in February 2009.  Excited, I set up the TV with the best of my old antennas and it worked fine.  Until the first airplane flew near my apartment building.  The picture broke up, then was lost completely.  The TV provided a helpful note that the digital signal was low.  After the plane had flown over, the picture returned.  

I live under landing and take-off routes for the city's international airport.  During peak times, the frequency of planes passing overhead can top out at 2 per minute.  Every single time a plane passes, the TV picture breaks up and is lost, which interrupts whatever program I'm watching.  Hey, I thought HD digital TV was supposed to be BETTER than analog?  I never had this problem with analog TV!  And it turns out that if there's a thunderstorm or gusts of high wind, they also interfere with the signal.  Sometimes, the signal becomes "encrypted" and I must re-scan in order to recover the channel.

A friend who knew more than I about electronics, suggested that I buy a new antenna that could be amplified.  So, I went out, bought a new antenna, set it up, turned on the amplification and waited.  Now, I expected the problem to go away.  It didn't.  It's the same.

So, you see, that's why it was so spooky last night watching Obama's speech.  I could hear the roar and rumbling of the planes flying overhead, about one ever 45 seconds for the first half hour, and less frequently after that.  But I didn't lose the signal and the picture didn't even break up!  Weird.

Was it something about the importance of the speech?  Was it what President Obama said?  Was it the presence of Gabrielle Giffords?  Well, the picture stayed steady even during the GOP response given by Gov. Mitch Daniels.  I sure wish my TV sucked up the digital signals like that for all the programs I watch!

These political speeches are usually ho-hum stuff for me, at least they used to be.  I was so impressed with the speech last night, I got my hands on the full text of it today.  I've also gotten the full text of Gov. Daniels' speech.  Somehow, I think the two are the blueprints for the presidential campaign going forward.  Consider this: the level of invective from the GOP responding to Obama's speech is directly related to Obama's perceived strength, his power, and the correctness of his ideas.  In other words, how much you wanna bet that the GOP wishes they thought of it first? ("it" being any of the President's ideas that the GOP particularly shreds today and the rest of the week.)

My general opinion about what's been happening in Washington, D.C. in our government for the last 3 years?  First, the Republicans are not just the "do nothingers."  They're the "stop anything the Democrats and/or Obama want" party because they want Obama to be a one-term president.  OK, but how is that governing the country, working in the best interests of the country?  It stopped everything like legislation, appointments, etc.  I want to believe that there are intelligent and reasonable Republicans in Congress who truly want to work together across the aisle, but they're afraid because they're own political party has created a totally nasty atmosphere in which to work.  I want more than anything for the Republicans to stop playing politics and to start governing.  You're looking really awful right now, Elephant Party.

Second, I think President Obama has not received all the credit that he deserves, and he's been blamed for circumstances and events that were set in motion long before he even ran for the Oval Office.  He's done a good job.  Far better than Congress, that's for sure!

So, what do you suppose my TV was saying about the speech last night....?


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