Sunday, April 23, 2006

Set top box (Note)

It was an impromptu purchase although we have looked at them in the past. Today from Prick Smith's, we bought a digital set top box. The thought was to improve our ABC tv reception and be ready for the brave new digital world. They are very common in the UK, one overseas rel told us. The digi box they call them. After getting home and trying to set it up, I renamed it the bastard box.

I looked at the instructions. I expected one wire into it, one wire out. No. To be able to use the vcr as well, something like eight wires go in and out of the box. We took the opportunity to rearrange the dvd player and vcr. It was a frightful mess. Eventually completed but of course it would not work. Double check connections. Nothing. I am now up to three hours. I hopped the tram back to Dick Smith. I intended replacing an r/f cable that I had made up myself previously, just in case. Not cheap. I asked the most techno looking staff dude I could find in the store. He looked at the wiring diagram and shook his head. Just plug the rca cables from the set top to the tv and the aerial into the box. Ok, I thought. I will at least get it to work and try from there.

Back home I pulled out cables left right and centre and wired it as simply as I could. Tv on, AV2 selected. Still nothing. Four hours have passed. Along with it not working, I have mucked up the tv and video tuning. Feeling a bit panicky now. I don't know anyone who lives nearby who is a bit smarter at these things. I may have to concede defeat and pay for a technician to visit. Oh, the humiliation. To tape tv this evening, I am going to have to put the tv and video back together now. It is getting late and we are going out. I did that and retuned the tv and vcr to almost near normal. I hadn't tuned the tv or vcr since we bought it, so I had to relearn both of them.

Ok, I still have time for another go with set top box. Still nothing. Then just pushing buttons here and there, suddenly I saw the language menu. We are away. Go through the set up procedures. It finds all available digital tv signals and radio signals. Not many of them really.

So are you curious as to what was wrong? I was trying to operate it in standby mode. There is a red light showing in standby mode, yes just like all the other electronic stuff, duh. But until set up is complete, when it is on, there are no lights at all showing to indicate that is working. Nothing.

Today I will spend another hour resetting it up properly. In spite of not having long to play with it, the picture is excellent and the sound is amazing. Worth having just for the improved sound.


  1. Dad went through about five of those dick smith set top boxes before finding one that actually worked.

    At home ours is: DVD on AV2 and the set top box on AV1. The VCR is hooked up via RF. The connection from the antenna goes direct into the set top box.

    So basically if we want to watch television, we turn the set top box on and set the tv to av1 and use the included remote to change stations.

    You will normally notice a couple of more channels when the footy or cricket is on. They normally have game stats or alternate viewing angles.

    Its not that difficult just gotta play around with the wires. By the way, a fresh set of batteries helps.

  2. Don't feel retarded - I first got a DVD player some years back (it's a Pioneer and was $650 back in 2000! It's still worth it's weight in gold). Anyway, I spent the better half of the day trying to tune the bloody thing (remember, the previous technology was VCR). Then, after hours of hair-tearing and screaming at inanimate objects, I pressed the AV button and entered the brave new world. Yes, it sounds silly now and I still laugh about it, but at the time I could have made CrimeStoppers.


Before you change something, find out why it is the way it is in the first place - unknown.