Saturday, November 10, 2007

Giant TV Makes Sparks Fly

For several years, Chad and I resisted the consumer compulsion to buy a huge flat screen TV. Then Chad decided we really, really needed one. If you have the big high-definition TV, then you need to spring for high-definition cable. If you have the high-definition TV and cable, then you need a new DVD player too. With a few sighs and eye-rolls, I let Chad haul our old faithful boxy TV and old DVD/VCR combo machine to Goodwill. No sooner did Chad drop off the donations, than the new TV with all its new accouterments started crashing the cable connection every few minutes and making disconcerting popping noises. We're one of those households that only has one TV. Our one new TV, though super-impressive looking to gadget-geeks, wasn't working right.

Chad scheduled the cable repair-person to come check out the situation. The cable guy said that the TV was the problem. Chad called the customer service phone line for the TV and was told that a repair-person couldn't come out for about two weeks. After a bit of online research, he found an authorized repair shop about a half-hour drive away from our house. (We rarely drive more than ten minutes to get anywhere. We're somewhat conscious of our carbon footprint that way.) Chad loaded the giant TV into his car for a road trip to the shop. The TV repair shop person said that the TV was fine. Chad brought the TV back home with a new cable box and plugged everything back into the outlet. Sparks shot out of the wall outlet, frightening Chad and our three cats. I wasn't home for this spectacle, but got to hear about it later. Chad then tried several other electrical outlets in the living room and by process of elimination, decided that the electrical outlet behind the entertainment console was to blame for the sparks and all of the TV-related problems.

Fox Services to the rescue again! The electrician from Fox Services explained to me that two of our living room plugs weren't wired correctly and thus weren't ground properly. He showed me the wires and started giving me a lesson on electrical engineering and my eyes kinda glazed over. He was very nice, if a bit overly enthusiastic about the history of wiring as it related to our fifty-five-year-old house. The exciting conclusion is that he fixed our electrical outlets. As I type this, Chad is playing The Simpsons Game on the giant TV. If you ask me, seeing the game so giant on the TV makes it look pixelated and funky. I'll admit I do enjoy seeing movies on the big TV, and the flat screen looks a little nicer than the old boxy TV did in our living room.