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And so it came to pass: My technophobic friend is getting a DVD player.

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jack Briggs, Oct 24, 2003.

  1. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    When last we saw my confused friend Dave, he and I nearly had a falling out. So ruffled were our feathers that we ceased communicating for the duration of the summer. But a few exchanged e-mails set things back in motion.

    His latest Internet (AOL, actually) conquest, a woman named Kathy, recently purchased a 27-inch Sony WEGA. Smitten by the set's pretty pictures, Dave called me two weeks ago and announced that the inevitable had come to pass: "Jack," said the Bronx-accented voice on the other end, "I'll take that TV you were going to give me. And guess what? I want to get a DVD player now!"

    Silence.

    "You mean you're ready to give up that Beta machine?" I said in my most sarcastic tone.

    "[Expletive] you," Dave shot back. "I'm ready to get into DVD. And I want you to tell me what to get. And can you do this 'calibration' thing you keep talking about?"

    "It's the Panasonic CT-27D12D that will need calibrating, chowderhead," I responded. "And, yes, I can give you a quick calibration through the user menus."

    "What's a 'user menu'?"

    "I'll explain that later," I said with a groan.

    "And you'll hook everything up?"

    Silence.

    "[Expletive], I asked if you'll hook everything up."

    "Yes, Dave. I want your system to work, so I'll hook the things up myself."

    My best insults seem always to go unnoticed.

    A few minutes later, I asked him how much he was planning on spending. Dave surprised me by saying he was willing to fork over more than $200 on a player.

    "Dave," I informed him, "a really nice match for this Panasonic monitor would be a Sony 725 player, and it's progressive scan to boot."

    "What's prog --"

    "That doesn't concern you now, because the Panasonic won't support it," I explained patiently. "But in two or three years it will mean something to you. Before then, though, you will have bought a basic sound system that can give you Dolby Digital and DTS in complete surround sound. What's more, that Sony 725 can be had for around $140 at good guys, meaning we can get some nice component-video cables."

    We made plans to get Dave's DVD player this Saturday. Tomorrow.

    And just last night my Luddite buddy called to remind me of our plans. "I'm buying you lunch, Jack," he threw in as an added incentive while calling from Kathy's apartment. Only then to throw a problem at me: Kathy couldn't get a picture on her new Sony. So, of course I interrupted my evening DVD screening of Star Trek: The Next Generation to walk Dave and his new girlfriend through the enormous challenge of getting the Sony back up and running.

    Turned out to be a problem with the cable box.

    So here I am, on the eve of Dave's indoctrination into the world of home theater. He even wants to purchase some DVDs tomorrow, he told me eagerly just hours ago when calling during my lunch break. "You know what the first movie I get will be? 2001!" he said. I could almost see him beaming. "I figured you'd like that."

    "Thanks, Dave. Now you can retire that old VHS copy you have."

    Then came another stunner:

    "Jack, guess what! I've been looking at that Home Theater Forum you talk about. I saw a lot of your posts."

    "I post a lot, Dave. I have to."

    "So how do you sign up?"

    "Let's talk about that later, Dave."

    And so it goes.
     
  2. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    Thanks Jack, "Dave" stories are always funny. I like this Kathy woman already. She's pointing Dave in the right direction.
     
  3. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Does the Sony 725 support SACD? Or don't you want to push your luck with him? :p)

    I forget: does he have a cat in residence?
     
  4. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    "Dave stop... stop Dave... my mind is going..."

    Please note that Jack with all his technological know-how and powers of persuasion couldn't convert his friend into the world of digital discs, but a woman Dave recently met on the internet did the trick. Whoa! [​IMG]
     
  5. Hunter P

    Hunter P Screenwriter

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    Does this idiot box come with them thar remote controls? I'm getting tired of cranking the dials just to get to those UHF channels.[​IMG]
     
  6. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    I can't wait to read Jack's (inevitable) post about what happened when Dave wanted to borrow some DVDs from his library... [​IMG]
     
  7. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    "tis a long journey you are about to embark upon. it is not for the faint of heart..."
     
  8. Khoa Tran

    Khoa Tran Supporting Actor

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    Jack, the samething is going on with my brother....we're getting the xbr910 soon and he still doesn't understand the differences between a regular dvd player and a progressive....i guess he'll understand when he sees it...
     
  9. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    "Where's my tractor?"
     
  10. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I wanna use the sex machine...and her name is SONY!
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Nice, but why does she have cable?
     
  12. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I wanna hear about the discussion where Jack tries to explain to Dave about the importance of OAR and Dave says, "I don't care, I just want my screen filled." [​IMG]


    Yeah, behold the power of hooters. [​IMG]
     
  13. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Never underestimate the power of hooters! Feel that power!![​IMG]
    And now Jack has to get used to Dave popping in now and then to borrow a few dvds, yikes!
     
  14. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Where's Dave already? We wanna mock him. [​IMG]
     
  15. Matt Butler

    Matt Butler Screenwriter

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    This thread rules!

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    So Dave is walking into unexplained territory here. And no, I'm not talking about the hooters! [​IMG]

    Jack, how are you going to explain to him that he can't simply screw the coaxial cable into the DVD player? Could he comprehend the fact that audio and video can pass through separate cables? Even worse, why two separate cables for audio and three separate cables for video?

    And he doesn't even have the sound system yet! [​IMG]
     
  17. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    This thread is gonna be a blast to watch.......

    I too, have had a couple of friends who, when they finally broke down and did a few "techno" things to get into dvd and such, they all always said, "wish I'd done this a long time ago"..... and I always look for that "jaw dropping" response from them......

    One family who visited us this summer has gone "wild" since they returned home. After spending a week with us and with a daily pounding of demos and movies, they have ended up with a HDTV, surround system and bass shakers..... My family made a trip to their home to help set it up, run wires and install shakers...... then came the "what does this button do" type of stuff which I still get emails about. It has been a lot of fun.........

    Women, hooters, and other things can impose a large "need" from several angles.......

    I am reminded of the first part of my sig....LOL

    Stay with it Jack.... helping friends like this makes for a good feeling in us.....even if it is trying.....LOL
     
  18. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    "This thread is gonna be a blast to watch......."

    OH yah!!

    It's such a great friendship that I like hearing about all the things that show the love between them[​IMG]

    B
     
  19. Scott Bourden

    Scott Bourden Second Unit

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    I love reading these posts, it's almost as if you are slowly training a pet monkey [​IMG]
     
  20. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    "Look at how clear that picture is!" exclaimed the grates-at-your-nerves voice two feet to my right. A quick chapter-access to a favorite scene from Dave's beloved Lord of the Rings disc resulted in the drop-your-jaw effect I had been expecting.

    Have we won a convert to the cause? Perhaps.

    Dave arrived at my house around noon Saturday as wildfires in the Valley cast an eerie pallor; the smoke-filtered sunlight and 100-degree temperatures provided the backdrop as we muscled the still-unopened Panasonic CT-27D12D to Dave's SUV.

    Sweating from the exertion, we hightailed it to the good guys! store in L.A.'s Beverly Connection mall on La Cienega Boulevard.

    We breezed through the chain-store outlet. I had called earlier and found out that they had eight Sony 725s in stock. Ignoring the "sales representative's" pitches, I picked out a set of component-video cables I knew would suffice.

    And as Dave payed for the player and cables, I made my way to a Sony KV-34XBR910 direct-view set to marvel over the ShowtimeHD feed (it looked like Space Cowboys was playing). Despite the harsh showroom setting and the too-blue picture on the Sony, I could see easily the set would work for my own home-theater needs. My decision is upon me. But I digress.

    Dave and I then made our way to a Best Buy in the Valley, near his home. As we looked at DVDs, I marveled over some of the prices. My technophobe friend, however, was shedding his phobia in increments. He was clearly excited.

    His initial DVD selections? True to his word, Dave picked up the new edition of 2001, along with both Lord of the Rings films and then the two-disc SE of The Doors (and, at only $9.95, so did I — my rationale being that my ex-wife appears briefly in the film and, hey, what a price!).

    It's a testament to the user-friendliness of both the Panasonic's and the Sony's interfaces that I was able to hook the core components of a home-theater-in-the-making without needing to consult the owner's manuals.

    However, upon removing the Panasonic from the carton, we were surprised to see that the styrofoam packing materials on the right side of the box had been crushed. And, upon placing the set on the stand, Dave and I noticed that the lower left front of the display had been cracked in the area of the left-channel speaker.

    Somewhere in its journey from the factory to the Santa Barbara Circuit City this unit had taken a pretty severe hit. It must have fallen from a height.

    Fearing the worst, I powered up the unit. It appeared to be functioning perfectly for an NTSC-only set. The shadow mask had not been jarred loose. No convergence issues that I could tell. And the tiny Panasonic left speaker sounded as if it was doing its job.

    So I hooked everything up, routing Dave's cable through his ancient two-head VCR and from there to the Panasonic. Then I connected the nifty little Sony player to the Panasonic's component-video inputs, and the red and white audio cables to their appropriate inputs.

    As the Yankees commenced losing to the upstart Florida Marlins, I announced to my Bronx buddy that he was now ready to sample the thrill and glory of DVD.

    And while Dave gawked slack-jawed at the picture quality, I adjusted the Panny's picture settings and tamed the image. Once again I was impressed by Sony's downconversion algorithms. What a smooth picture for a 4:3-letterbox mode; it looked as smooth and as good as a straight letterbox-only transfer that has no need of downconversion for presentation on a 4:3 set without a 16:9 mode.

    I might get a 725 myself, to replace a Toshiba 2800 that's running things in my bedroom system. Nifty — if flimsy at only about four pounds — little machine!

    Dave also is thrilled to have what for him is a "such a big screen" (the Panny takes over from a twenty-year-old 19-inch set). At one point, Dave was walking to various areas of his apartment to check out how "big" the picture is from different vantage points.

    And this is the guy who said I "needed" a "bigger screen" — thus setting off this series of rants.

    Yet Dave is thrilled.

    I drilled him on using the remotes, giving him lessons on what to do and to expect ("but, no matter what you do," I admonished, "do not [expletive] with the picture settings!").

    What a day.

    We even had the familiar "What's this 'fullscreen' thing?" episode in the Best Buys store (Dave's first exposure to this controversy). Yet here, Dave is slightly different from the newbie norm. Being a photographer, he has an eye for apertures and, by extension, aspect ratios. His one redeeming quality as a human being.

    So while Dave gawked at the picture, I turned to him and said, "Welcome to home theater and DVD!"

    The bug has bitten. The Eagle has landed.

    Evidence?

    Dave, shortly before hauling me back to my house, asked if I would help him put together a "surround system" early next year.

    The 21st century just arrived for Dave Cohen.
     

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