Our (cheap) 23" LCD TV's composite input gives lousy color. On the other hand, we've gotten loud buzzing noises a few times from its HDMI input, so we had our Time Warner (Scientific Atlanta) HD DVR connected to the composite inputs, and dealt with the lousy color and poor brightness. We also paid an additional $20.10/month for the second cable connection and DVR (Time Warner charges $9.95/month more for either HD or non-HD DVR than for a non-DVR cable box [HD or non-HD]). Now I wonder if the problem was with the DVR's HDMI output all along. Oh, well -- it no longer matters.

We do still pay $66.19/month for digital cable service upstairs. This lets Julia watch a couple kids' shows a day, and Annette & Amy check the Weather Channel. Our (pre-paid) TiVo also records the shows we like, so we can watch upstairs, but we generally watch downstairs. Neither of us knows if we'll watch more upstairs, or pay a few dollars a month to watch downstairs. It's an experiment.

Since we watch most of our "TV" from (ripped) DVDs, and our Time Warner signal is very unreliable, and their service is lousy, I returned the DVR on Saturday. That $20.10/month should pay for a Netflix upgrade and/or several shows from the iTunes Store (no longer the "iTunes Music Store", I noticed -- I wondered how long that would take, but missed the actual switch).

Good candidates for iTunes ducats -- (certain to total less the $241.20/year we'd been paying for the downstairs DVR):

  • $10: 16 consecutive episodes (4 weeks) of The Daily Show ($2/ea) -- we watch it infrequently these days.
  • $20: a season of South Park.
  • $26: a Torchwood season.
  • Doctor Who isn't available from iTunes, but we can watch it in VLC or upstairs, on cable.
  • free: Battlestar Galactica (on cable, upstairs)
  • free: The Sarah Jane Adventures (upstairs)
  • free: Robot Chicken (downloaded and watched on a laptop)

The TiVo S2 has a built-in web server, and I use tivodecode to extract MPEG video, but it won't play in QuickTime Player. They do play in the redoubtable VLC, but it's not quite as polished. This is not presently annoying enough to justify purchase of Toast, which can convert .TiVo files for QuickTime or iPhone, but I am not sure if DRM would be a problem; they don't provide any detail.

We haven't yet purchased anything through (or for) the Apple TV yet -- perhaps this week we'll try it.