September 15th, 2008


Clueless in Cableland

I hate when things don't work.

I turned on the TV for the first time in a while, and might have pressed a wrong button on the remote. Soon, the video inputs started scrolling by themselves: TV, DVD/VCR, and 2 blank ones, around and around. The TV screen would stay on one for a bit, then move, at varying time intervals. At first, I could help it along by pressing the TV/Video button on the remote that scrolls through the different inputs. Then the remote stopped connecting entirely.

I replaced the remote batteries, but that didn't help. At one point the TV stayed on a screen with "no signal" in the lower left. But eventually it moved on and I was able to watch TV on TiVO (through which I normally tune the channels), get into the TiVO menu, and see that it had just recorded "Entourage" OK. In the middle of watching, it moved to another input. Grrr.

In the midst of this, the TV remote did work and I could turn the TV on and off, change the volume, and scroll through the inputs (though that didn't stop them from scrolling by themselves). So what's the problem (cable? TV?) and what do I do?

Googling and the TV manufacturer's site have not been much help. I found this: "Problem: The television changes channels, video inputs or raises and lowers the volume by itself. IMPORTANT: If the television is connected to a cable or satellite set top box, change the signal source on the television. If this resolves the issue, contact your cable company or satellite set top box manufacturer for assistance." Huh? How do I change the signal source? It then advised unplugging and replugging the TV, which I did. Still no good.

I left the TV on and it's still scrolling around. The remote's not connecting. Since I last checked, it recorded TMZ OK, and I was able to watch a little "Jerry Maguire" on live TV before it scrolled to Video 3. I've pressed so many buttons on the remote I'm scared I may have lost the original settings.

C hooked this all up in January 2003, and I have no idea exactly what he did. Maybe I just need to press a button on the remote. Or a neighbor is doing something to mess up the signal (this was suggested when DSL didn't work last week). M on Facebook suggested a large bat or axe. Sigh.

TV or not TV?

I woke up with a sinking feeling: the TV. Finally I dared to go in the living room, picked up the remote... and it turned on the TV! I was watching TiVO, wondering if the problem had disappeared, when the video input scrolling started again: Video 3, No Signal, DVD, TV. This time the TV/Video remote button cycling these options worked, as did the TV/Video button on the TV itself (which had no effect earlier).

So I watched 5 TiVOed episodes of "The Hills." These were recorded overnight after I noticed the scrolling, and were clean so TiVO seems OK. Young, fashionable, clubby LA is about as far from my life as you can get, and these people can be so vapid. Hoochy outfits and tons of makeup, which ran when Lauren cried. Stephanie's hamster somehow turned into a guinea pig. Lauren talked of "awkwardly bobbing my head at the weird shows" Audrina dragged her to. Still, I got teary when Heidi and her sister made up. Oy.

Sometimes the TV was stable for as long as 30-45 minutes, but then it would move to Video 3 (quickly becoming the screen of doom). Sometimes the scrolling is fast and continuous, and sometimes it takes a break. Very frustrating.

I took the batteries out of the remote to see if perhaps a button was stuck on the remote and sending a bad signal. The screens continued to scroll. When I replaced the batteries, the TV didn't always respond to the remote as the screen moved on its own (and sometimes stayed on one input for a while). And the TV/Video button on the TV didn't always respond either. This sounds like the problem is the TV, unless there's some kind of interference. Not sure if it could be a cable issue. Sigh again.