Sunday, December 17, 2006

Subwoofer . . . the final chapter (we hope!!) and Blu-Ray!!!

We've had a nice and really busy weekend! The last weekend before Christmas (technically, since the 24th is a Sunday). Wow, I can't believe we're nearly at the end of 2006!

Anyway, on Saturday morning, the Best Buy guys came out to set up our new TV. We bought it three weeks ago, but with the Christmas season, they couldn't come out any sooner. So we set it up ourselves when we first bought it, but this is kind of like a kindergartener trying to build a high-rise out of blocks!. We have the basic knowledge and some tools, but nowhere near the technological knowledge to really do it right. This means we've been watching it all this time since we bought it with a less-than-great picture, and feeling somewhat disappointed that the picture didn't live up to the promise in the store. But then we also knew that the experts were coming soon and we weren't going to make too much of a fuss until they came out. We were also going to address the subwoofer issue with them, too, and see if there is anything they could suggest.

They arrived Saturday close to noon and spent probably 45 minutes building a high-rise out of our blocks! Holy cow; what a difference!!!! We are SO glad that we decided to have them come out and set it up. They taught us how to use it and programmed our Comcast cable box remote to work some functions on the TV so we don't have to use the TV remote (we have too many remotes!!) -- and, wowzers!! We were absolutely thrilled with the picture!! Another thing they told us about (which Comcast failed to do!) was that the HD channels broadcast by Comcast are in the 900-number channels!!! We'd been watching local channels on Fox, ESPN, Channels 12 and 24, but the HD version of these channels is on 902, 904, 912, 923, 924 -- and we found TNT HD which is very cool. We even found out that these channels broadcast in 1080i, which is what our TV receives. It is so fantastic!!! They also set up our TV so the non-HD broadcasts are letterboxed on the sides so that the picture isn't distorted. We'd been getting a really strange funhouse-mirror type of picture when we weren't watching in HD (which, it turns out, we hadn't been watching ANY channels in HD; no wonder the picture wasn't so good! DUH!). It looks great now and the color and everything is perfect. Even the non-HD picture is great -- they tweaked it somehow so that it looks really fantastic. Bill has been watching a LOT of football this weekend! Its been fun for him.

So after Best Buy had been here and made our TV look absolutely fantastic (but they couldn't fix the subwoofer issue), Bill went off and did his Christmas shopping. He came home with some HD DVD's and then we realized (thankfully before we opened them!) that we can't play them on our regular DVD player. So we went back to Best Buy to return them, and ended up looking at the HD DVD players and the Blu-Rays . . . oh dear. You can see it coming, can't you . . . ??? We ended up going home with a Blu-ray player and some blu-ray movies. Holy cow! What an incredible picture and sound. Just like a theater. It is truly amazing. The picture, the sound -- OMG!! True 5.1 surround sound in Dolby Digital. It shakes the floor!!!

This is what our blu-ray player looks like. This isn't a photo of ours; this is one from the internet. It looks a lot like a regular DVD player:

But the best part of all, is when we were at Best Buy, drooling at the high-def players, we ran into one of the sales/install guys we'd been working with a few months ago on our subwoofer problem. That was such a blessing, because having to re-explain everything for the 412th time is really frustrating, and he already had a real good idea of how much grief we'd had over this problem. We updated him on what had happened since we'd talked with him, which was that they had traded out the receiver for a new one, which fixed the subwoofer for the requisite two days, which seems to always be the amount of time the sub worked after "fixing" it. We also told him that, after we traded out the receiver for a new one, and the sub failed again after two days, that we'd had the sub in to service for three weeks, only to have it come back and then, once again, fail after two days. He said, "You know, you guys have been dealing with this problem for a really long time now, and maybe it was the sub all along. I think we should just trade out the sub and be done with it. Let me get a manager and we'll get that taken care of for you." YAHOO!!! We ran home and got the old one, and we had the new sub within half an hour. Finally!!! I knew Best Buy would come through, but the months and months of going back and forth got really old after awhile! Of course, some of the time lag was because we would let two or three months go by between problems, because we just got so tired of dealing with it all.

So, we went home Saturday night with a brand-new sub and a brand-new blu-ray player and some very cool movies. I think the replacement sub is better than the other one! It certainly is bigger and it is very powerful. So far, it is wonderful! Amazing!! Truly great sound. After hearing this one, I realized that, even when the other sub "worked" it really wasn't working the way it should have been. The sound we're getting out of our system is astounding and absolutely theater-like. We watched "Enemy of the State" on blu-ray on Saturday night, and it was fabulous!! Great movie and great theater experience! I listened to some CDs today, and it was absolutely awesome!! Clear highs and really rich, full lows. Even pleasing for an audiophile like me!! Absolutely incredible. I am so thrilled!! Of course, I am holding my breath to get past the magical two-day window. If our sub is still working by, say, Wednesday -- I will begin to breathe a sigh of relief that perhaps, this time, our home theater problems are behind us . . . .

I'll keep you posted!