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Electronics can be overwhelming


Evelyn Metzger is a member of Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.

The joy that has come to my life from the wonders of electronics is sometimes just overwhelming. Just think of it: movies in my own living room anytime my heart desires. Well, that is when the equipment is working. Unfortunately, there was a recent electronic failure at my house.

Getting ready for my latest Netflix movie I was startled to see the DVD player spit out the disk that I had just installed and displayed the rude message: BAD DISK. Well did you ever? So try again — same result.

Try a different disk from my own collection. Suddenly they are all BAD DISKS. Well we know better. So consulting others with far more electronic expertise than I have, the conclusion was that the machine was busted.

“Throw it out,” said my daughter. “It would cost more to fix it than to buy a new one.”

She was right. Well, I’m not about to go skipping through various TV stores scattered about the city, so I proceed to the good old Internet to see what’s available. There’s too much available and further more complicated by my somewhat unique situation. Now pay attention because this gets a little tricky.

I have close to a hundred movies in my collection. Both VHS, which is tape, and DVD, which is disk. So I need a player that does both. That’s all I want, just a dual player.

I don’t want to record or send messages to the moon, which I found in my search on the Internet, machines that would accomplish even more miraculous feats than I will ever live long enough to desire.

After searching online for three days, too many choices, too many sellers, I settled for a machine made by Magnavox, the same brand as my TV, sold by Sears for $89 plus shipping still totaling less than $100 and it arrived at my doorstep four days later.

Now comes the tricky part. It has to be connected, and this is not a case of just plugging it into the wall socket. Call the expert. My daughter actually works with this kind of equipment, but of course the latest.

I have neglected to tell you about my old TV, which is really what complicates the whole situation. Yes, it’s a Magnavox, the same brand as the new video player, but it’s more than 20 years old. It’s embarrassing. And it gets worse.

Remember three years ago when TV broadcasting switched from analog to digital?

Maybe you don’t remember because if you had cable TV at that time there was nothing you had to do for the change. But if you didn’t have cable — like me — you had to buy a converter box, which I did, and that magically allowed the analog TV set to receive digital broadcasting.

I don’t receive cable stations, but my TV does display channels 2, 2.2, 6, 8, 8.2, 10, 10.2, 10.3, 12 and a whole bunch of others like religious, Spanish and cartoons. Are you still with me?

It took the expert a long time to get the new player connected and working. The problem seems to be that there are three instruments: the TV, the converter box and the VHS/DVD player.

The signal must reach each one in the right order and they each have their own remote controls. After battling with the connection cords and declaring defeat three times, she finally succeeded.

She suggested, as have most of the other members of my family, that I buy a new TV. But I am a dyed in the wool cheapskate and I remember the old saying: If it ain’t busted, don’t fix it. It continues to work and the picture is satisfactory. And I don’t care that it takes three remote controls to turn it on and off. So there!