Wherever the Road Leads

My Wireless World

or, cutting the cable, part deux.

It’s been wonderful. I haven’t felt like throwing my shoe at the television in a week. I should have stopped paying for cable a long time ago.

So far, with my $7.99 first-month-free Netflix subscription, I’ve seen an English movie, an American movie, a French movie and an Italian movie, plus a Canadian television program in HD. My first HD experience.

This new little “Magic Box” has outputs for both Standard Definition and High Definition pictures. Being too cheap to survive the sticker shock of going to Best Buy to pay five times what cables are worth from the on-line retailers – though I miss the instant gratification – I waited for my package of HDMI cables to arrive from California. They arrived, a day later than the USPS website’s estimate but a whole lot faster than the Canada Post mule would have got them here.

I hooked up the TV then scrolled through the various Netflix choices, searching for an HD program. I figured that a television series would get “to it and at it” much more quickly than a movie which might begin with five minutes of “Distributed by”, “Produced by”, “In association with”, “Starring”, “Key grip” and “Best boy electric” before the picture actually began. I was worried, too, that the much more data-hungry HD resolution might bog down the router using wireless.

I found a TV program called “Bomb Girls”. Fine, never heard of it but that’ll do. Up it came in glorious 1080p resolution. I have had that TV for three years and I have never seen anything in HD. I don’t have a Blu-Ray player as, though I watch many movies, I do not get them through conventional methods and the Blu-Ray files are simply too large to… uh-h-h.. acquire.

bomb-girls03

It was magnificent… the characters jumped off the screen at me. After a few minutes of watching and being dazzled by the display, I started to pay attention to the sound. There was something off. I listened quite intently, not to what was being said but to the manner in which it was being said. Quick like a bunny I jumped onto the computer to IMDB – the Internet Movie DataBase. Sure enough, produced in Canada, eh?

Canadians contend, I think because Peter Jennings – a native of Canada’s Capital – used to read the ABC Evening News here in the US, that they do not have accents. Even overlooking the obvious “eh?” and “oot & aboot”, y’all sure DO have an accent, a very distinct one at that.

My wireless “N” router performed admirably; the picture flowed flawlessly with no stuttering or pixelation. However, this was in my “activity room”, the smallest bedroom where I set up a TV, computer (and router), bed plus an electric heater so that I didn’t have to pay to heat the rest of the house through the winter but I could be warm and toasty in this one room. The true test of the wireless picture will be when I try to power the 40″ TV in the living room downstairs.

There had been no entertainment downstairs since saying good-bye to Comcast. The solution came to me in a blinding flash. In the dark of night, I sat bolt upright in bed with a revelation. Either that or I read someone else’s great idea on the internet.

My first Smartphone before I got greedy and wanted a 4.3″ screen, was an HTC Incredible. It was a very good phone and has been sitting in a drawer for two years. I can’t use it for making phone calls, HOWEVER, it is still an internet device using wi-fi.

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I retrieved the phone and while it was charging, I rummaged around to find the very first set of external laptop speakers that I bought, two tiny tweeter ‘towers’ and a plastic ‘sub’… cheap and dirty and a long way from 5.1 and Dolby, but they served their purpose.

As Pandora has introduced a 40-hour monthly cap on mobile devices, to be safe, I am using a different, free music service on this recycled-radio setup, “Jango”. It didn’t take long and I now have my choice of music to peel potatoes by.

I can see, though, that by powering a television, two cell phones and sometimes a laptop via wireless plus two hard-wired desktop computers, the most important device in the house is now my router. If it goes down, what would I do for entertainment… read a book?

Oh, no!!

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