#19: Recalcitrant Television

The Question

the Don Shaun:

A senior member of our family has come under significant fire from her television set. Every morning, several hours before she would like to wake up, it comes on at an unreasonably high volume pumping static into her living quarters.

Repeated investigations of the physical evidence reveal that the timer function for the television remains, as it always has, in the ‘off’ position.

Why oh why would a TV do this to an 82 year old lady? What can be done to tame this insatiable beast?

Please note that suggestions to purchase a replacement have been met with a dim view; at the end of the day, she would very much like her [expletive deleted] television to work.

Your friend indeed,

Comment by Julie Britt — 1/14/2005 @ 4:18 pm

The Answer

Televisions can be tricky beasts. There are a number of reasons why the TV might be going on without anyone actually telling it to:

1. Signals from a neighbor’s remote are activating the TV. This is probably the least likely scenario.

2. The wiring in the house might be allowing surges that trigger the TV to turn on. Try changing the outlet that the TV is plugged in to.

3. The TV is poorly designed and, with age, the ability to discern what circuits are actually activated is going south. This could indicate that the TV is thinking that someone is turning it on, when really it’s just lost the will to resist current.

My recommended solution to this dilemma? The Clapper.

That’s right, all you need to do is purchase the Friend of the Elderly, Assistant to the Infirm, the one and only Clapper. Hook it up to the TV, and have your grandmother Clap the power off. That way, there won’t be any power going to the TV, so it can’t possibly turn on randomly.

Plus, your grandmother probably wouldn’t be interested in my first thought, which was to install an X10 and an X10 controller program on the local computer and control the power to the TV via software. (Someone smell a geek?)

3 thoughts on “#19: Recalcitrant Television

  • 3/1/2005 at 11:23 am

    While the clapper is a valid solution, wouldn’t cutting the power to the tv cause it to lose its memory of channel presets every day?

  • 3/3/2005 at 12:38 pm

    What is this “channel presets” that you refer to? It will start on channel 2 every morning, yes. But I have yet to find anyone who makes use of “channel presets” on their television. I assume you mean something where you hit a button and it goes to a specific channel?

    I can understand if you are concerned about a radio – that would be annoying. But a TV?

  • 3/8/2005 at 2:54 pm

    not quite like that. my tv, being an older model, must “autoprogram” every time it loses power… this is an annoying process where the tv scans all of the cable channels to figure out what has signal and what dosn’t. and it only starts when you press power. most older tvs have this feature.

    if she didn’t have a cable box she could be in for an autoprogram every day!


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