Too Many Inputs

May 9, 2003

The latest Penny Arcade made me roar. It’s semblance to reality is uncanny. The mess of wires that run behind my television form a maze of incredible proportions. Only the Matrix itself rivals it in its complexity.

It didn’t start that way. At one point, there was a simple TV. There were no video ins, no video outs. The VCR, a most complex addition in its day, began the cycle. Game consoles, DVD players, a new TV, and a surround sound system later all hope is lost. The last time we had our carpet replaced it took me hours to set up. It’s a jungle in there. Little electronic monkeys swing to and fro on the cables that connect this to that. There are only 5 consoles hooked to my television. You’d think it would all be better organized.

In truth, my cable traffic jam is a badge of honor. Every device within 3 feet of my television can be activated by following a couple of easy steps, most controlled by a handy universal remote. And the remote glows blue. You just can’t help but be impressed.

Still the comic rings true. Let’s use the example in the comic and judge its merit:

If you were to play Mario Party at my house – besides the fact that you would have to stop by Best Buy or Blockbuster and pick up a copy – here’s the steps you’d have to take:

  1. Turn on the TV.
  2. Put the TV on video.
  3. Turn on the Receiver.
  4. Put the receiver on Video 1.
  5. Put the console switch box (that would be the first console switch box, found on the left above the receiver) on Input 1.
  6. Turn on the GameCube.
  7. Insert disc.
  8. I’d suggest the WaveBird controller. The fact that it is wireless is just cool. Don’t forget to turn it on.

See? Simple.

I can assure you all that these steps make perfect sense. Men, particularly men with a geekly slant, will nod knowingly. Most women roll their eyes. You do what?

My setup leads to confusion when I leave my wife alone with the TV (though, I must admit I’ve never seen a woman more able to work a remote – you work it girl). It creates anarchy for babysitters of the grandparent variety. You want to watch a DVD? All you need to do is put the TV on video. Power up the receiver and select the DVD input. Now open the second cabinet on the left and turn on the Xbox within. Load the DVD on its tray and you are off. Keep in mind that every device can be controlled with the remote, except the Xbox power. For that you need to hit the button on the big black box. Oh, and only the volume of the receiver will work with DVDs. I’ll be back in a couple of hours.

The last time we came home we found the grandparents right where we expected them to be: watching TV upstairs. It’s the one TV in the house that has only a single remote. What’s the fun in that?

by | Categories: technology |

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