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TV Died: Q&A

Q: Do they make TV sets that play on the moon?

A: Yes, but they only receive a few shows. You can watch Mork and Mindy, X-Files, Bowling For Dollars, The Gong Show, and the whole UPN network.

Q: I keep most of my VHS tapes in the stove. Is that OK?

A: It's not the best place in the world. I would take them out and put them on a shelf somewhere.

Q: I've heard that if you watch a lot of color TV, you'll get radioactive poisoning and bone cancer. Is this true?

A: A number of experiments have been conducted in this area with laboratory animals, but the evidence is still inconclusive. One group experimented with teenage mice, subjecting them to watching the equivalent of 25 year's worth of soap operas. Only 3 percent of the mice developed any cancerous condition, but the rest of them became terminally insane. On the other hand, a group of older monkeys watching pro football for the equilvalent period had no problems. If you feel insecure, wear an asbestos-lined suit.

Q: Can I convert my old 10-inch black-and-white set into a 27-inch color set with VCR, cable, or pay cable, satellite, DVD, and even Laserdisc with a good supplementary audio system?

A: Sure. You can do anything if you want if you have the money.

Q: I get a lot of snow, zigzag lines, triple images, and dark black spots on my TV set. I called a repair man and he took it back to the shop to fix it. When I got it back, it was still bad and I was out $203.54. What's wrong with my set?

A: I don't honestly know. It could be a number of things. I'll have to take it back to the shop.

Q:Are you supposed to do anything with the controls, buttons and wires on the back of the TV set?

A: If your set is working fine, than leave them alone.

Q: I'm thinking of buying a VCR. Which one shall I buy?

A: I can't endorse any specific brands in the magazine, but if you come over to the office, we can talk about a nice deal on a very good one I want to sell myself. OK?

Q: Do they make VCRs that will play back a Chinese tape on a European set of vice versa?

A: You would need a special hookup for that which involves buying a three-stage converter box and a roof antenna. The converter box is made in Demnark at the moment and costs $203,000. There's been some talk of new converter boxes on the market for as little as $39, but I think it's just a rumor.

Q: Is there any way of duplicating TV reception in other rooms with mirrors?

A: Of course. That's what mirrors are for. Just set up your mirrors so that they reflect what's on the TV screen. If there are any obstructions...demolish them!

Q: Can I convert all my video laser discs to Betamax?

A: Yeah, I suppose you can, but why anyway when Betamax has joined them in format heaven. It's almost easier to convert yourself to Judaism by comparison.

Q: Can I get cable TV on one of those new wristwatch sets?

A: Sure. You'll need a cable program box, a few adaptors and converters, and a lot of wire if you want to walk around. You may look into getting satellite TV instead. Just install a dish on your head, install a converter box on your stomach, wire them all together with the TV watch, and pay the programmers to start your subscription!

Q: What's the difference between a VHS and a Betamax?

A: About 90 minutes in SLP mode or 30 in SP mode. No wonder VHS won out. You can tape a football doubleheader on one tape barring overtime.

Q: Why is channel 39 on cable 7, channel 30 on cable 8, and channel 69 on cable 5? Can't these cable companies get their channels right?

A: Sure they can. Just tell them to put channel 7 on cable 39, 8 on cable 30, and 5 on cable 69 just to straighten things out.

Q: I turned up the brightness control as high as possible, yet the programming is as insipid as ever. Do I need to buy a TV set with a higher brightness control setting?

A: Actually, we'll all be better off if you enroll your TV set to Harvard and have it get an education on every subject possible. That should work.

Q: It's so amazing that every TV I see has all its channels sorted in numerical order. Is it a coincidence?

A: No coincidence. There's a FCC rule that specifies what channels are in what order on all TV sets, just in case you need to get from channel 7 to 8 in a big hurry. Makes things easier, eh?

Q: If I hookup my Direct TV together with my EchoStar TV, will I get HDTV?

A: No, you'd have to get satellite dishes that are elliptical in a 2:1 ratio in order to get true HDTV. The picture gets wider on the screen. The only problem is that this method puts on 200 pounds on every person.

Q: I aimed my satellite dish towards my nextdoor neighbor's TV set. Can I pirate cable TV signals that leak out from their house and my dish receive them?

A: You could try that, but then again, you would see FBI agents eventually, so be careful what you steal.

Q: Is there a reason why cable and air TV has the same 2-13 channels, but can't agree on where to put channels 14-69?

A: Seems cable has a strange way of placing TV channels. You should contact them to straighten up their act.

Q: If I plugged my VCR channel 3 output to a signal amplifier, then hook it up to an outdoor antenna, would I be able to broadcast it over the airwaves?

A: You could try it, but proceed with caution, and don't play your homemade family movies while broadcasting or other embarrassing stuff. Be careful with HBO though.

Q: Can I get FM broadcasts on my stereo TV?

A: Sure. Just hook up an FM antenna, and keep clicking your TV until you get to the 88.1-107.9 range. That should do it.

Q: I bought a five-inch black and white TV for $500 at a super warehouse sale recently in Colorado. Did I get a good deal?

A: Oh man, why did you spend all that money on that measly TV set? You got ripped off man! I could have gone to Mexico for $500 and got a 45-inch HDTV-ready color TV for you wholesale. Next time, give me the money and I'll get the TV for you, alright?

Q: Is my TV set gay? It seems to be attracted to TV sets of the same make and model.

A: I believe all TV sets are born that way. They all have the same plugs. It doesn't matter what make or model you can connect two TV sets with patch wire. TV is a gay-friendly medium, no less.

Q: My VCR can't decode the pay channels. How do I make it tape HBO?

A: Simple. Open up the VCR. Open up the converter box. Shove the converter into the VCR. Connect the wires to the chassis. Plug it in. Voila. You've got...nothing! Take your VCR back and ask the technician to put pay decoding capabilities in the VCR or else it isn't worth its weight in salt.

Q: How do I get channel one on my TV?

A: Watch channel two half the time.

Q: My dog ate the remote control. How do I change the channels?

A: Wait until your dog hiccups. Then you'll get a different channel every time.

Q: If I plugged my finger into a TV set's antenna jack, would I be able to get channels 2-83?

A: You must have been watching American Pie too many times. You might be able to get a few local stations, but mostly content rated TV-MA.

Someone around here answers questions about TV sets, TV technology, and anything related to these subjects whenever he feels like answering them. Address questions to Q&A, c/o TV Died. The easiest questions will be answered, but sometimes the easy ones are tricky, so don't expect a quick reply. OK?
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