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Late last year, I bought a new TV. My old one was too big and was turning on by itself in the middle of the night and giving me panic attacks, and this whole digital-TV switchover was coming…so my wife and I hit Consumer Reports, decided on a fine model that wouldn’t overwhelm our tiny living room or tiny budget, and sat back to enjoy mind-blowing HD clarity.

Except the stations kept cutting out. (We don’t have cable.) So I got a new antenna. And that worked a little bit better, but not much. Sometimes local networks blacked out or just didn’t come in, generally corresponding with a sporting event I had been looking forward to watching all week.

I was going to go up to the roof and hook up the giant antenna that came with the house, but then I got an offer to add DirecTV to my Internet and phone bill for less than I was paying for just Internet and phone. Hey, awesome! My wife made the call, two nice fellows came and strapped a dish to our chimney for free, ran a supercool flat cable through the window so they didn’t have to drill a hole in the wall, and we sat down to enjoy a vast selection of entertainment in mind-blowing HD clarity.

Except as it turns out, DirecTV’s “all-digital” lineup ≠ programming that will look OK on a digital TV. Everything is in standard definition, which our new TV makes look like YouTube. We called DirecTV, where a nice fellow told us that we could have HD channels, including our local channels, which is really all I want anyway, for an additional $10/month. We’ll probably do it, just so we can sit down and watch some goddamn TV once in a while, a pleasure that’s been more or less denied us ever since TV got so much better.

Photo by Flickr user anomalous4