Monday, January 7, 2008

German TV

Well, we finally did it. We went out and bought an antenna and receiver to be able to watch German television. Tamara has talked about it for a while and asked me how to do it, and why I don't hook up the satellite, and doesn't Emma need to learn German, etc. Here's how are adventure turned out.

We hooked up the satellite first, but found that we could only receive Italian, Egyptian, Arabic, Spanish, and a couple of Swiss German channels. According to my research, the satellite is apparently pointing in the wrong direction and must just be moved slightly. A bit too adventurous for me given the satellite's location on the roof and not knowing which way to move, etc.

So, then I looked into what is called DVB-T (Digital Video Broadbrand - Terrestrial). It's the new version of rabbit ears antennas available here in Germany, and must be used with a DVB-T receiver (kind of like a cable box). I bought the cheapest antenna and receiver available (about 50 € total) and hooked it up. It works. Well, most of the channels work most of the time. We might try a fancier antenna.

The great thing for me was that the kids were not overly excited. They have still turned off the TV without too much complaining and found many other things to do around the house when we've asked them. I was worried they would just be stuck in front of the thing all day and night now with live TV, but they weren't, which made me very happy.

For further background, we have had a TV for the last year, but only with a DVD and VCR and no connection to live TV. And the kids know several movies by heart, and get excited to borrow "new" DVDs from friends. But they have also learned to do other things around the house and enjoyed playing with friends, etc. And jobs have come first.

So, I'm glad we waited a year and learned to live without live TV, and think life will now also be OK with the TV. This reminded me of a great quote about modern media I read in a book by Michael Crichton entitled Airframe, first published in 1996. Since the book was written over a decade ago, the quote is even more fitting today.

" 'Fact is,' Amos said, 'everything's changing. Used to be - in the old days - the media image roughly corresponded to reality. But now it's all reversed. The media image is the reality, and by comparison day-to-day life seems to lack excitement. So now day-to-day life is false, and the media image is true. Sometimes I look around my living room, and the most real thing in the room is the television. It's bright and vivid, and the rest of my life looks drab. So I turn the damn thing off. That does it every time. Get my life back.' "

Good night, and good luck


Lala said...

YAY for TV!! LOL Hope you are having a great new year so far!


Haddock said...

For Sat TV you need to be pointed at the Astra 19.2E satellite. Basically need to pint the sat dish the same direction and elevation as everyone elses but it is tricky. As you discovered DVB-T is lot easier.

Too much TV is a mind killer! :)

March 2007