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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Newsflash: DVRs rule

It's been a while since I blorged, so I'm going to blawg about DVRs. Basically, getting a DVR is the greatest thing a modern TV viewer can do.

The reason I'm pointing out this highly obvious fact is that a couple of years ago I got a DVR, and it ruled. Then about a year later, it somehow developed some fault, which rendered both the composite video and S-video outputs broken. It still had a functioning component output, but my TV doesn't have a component input, only composite and S-video.

So you see my problem.

Component video has three leads - one for luminance, which is basically a black and white signal, and two for colour information. The crappy solution I came up with was to plug a composite lead into the luminance channel of the component output, and watch things in black and white.

Watching stuff in black and white was all well and good in the 50's, and there are some great films which do not suffer for being monochrome, but it's no way to watch the Simpsons. So it was back to good old-fashioned VHS if I wanted to record anything and be able to watch it later in colour.

So convenient is the DVR that I still used it a fair bit, and put up with the black and white. I have it set up to automatically record most of the stuff I watch each week, in case I miss something I wanted to see. One of the things I've been watching from the DVR a lot in the last few months is the hilarious Canadian sitcom Corner Gas. I've seen so many episodes of Corner Gas in black and white from the DVR, I've started to think of it as a black and white show.

It occurred to me before long that it was probably possible to buy a device that converts component video into composite. I scoured eBay and Google trying to find one with no success. A couple of weeks ago, I finally realised that DealExtreme, that Mecca of all things cheap and nasty, might have such a device. And they did! Having bought other highly useful items from DealExtreme in the past, I confidently bought the video converter. It arrived today, it works, and at long last I can go back to using the DVR without having to pretend I'm some guy in the 50's, waiting two minutes for my huge TV with the tiny rounded screen to turn on so I can watch vaudevillian variety shows. While smoking a pipe.