Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When Your Computer and TV Don't Play Nice

Since we took a little break during Christmas I thought I'd share what's been happening at the casa lately, and it's not all decorating/remolding related so bear with us.

Mike and I are not ones to keep up with the latest electronic gadgets.  We don't have iPhones or iPads, and I couldn't tell how to turn on a Kindle, let alone read a book on it.  Don't get me wrong, we have a lot of the cool electronics, like our beloved Wii and the only thing that gets us from A to B are our Garmins, but these were all bought years after they were the must haves.  So it came as somewhat of a surprise when Christmas came a little early for this girl and a large box was delivered to our door a couple weeks ago:


You see, we've been living like poor college students with my old tube TV, which I bought while I was a poor college student about 6 years ago.  Me and my TV have been through a lot, including 5 moves and 6 different residences.  So, maybe it doesn't have HD or enough connections so that we had to unplug the Wii when we wanted to play the PS2.  So what, if it had a green spot in the left hand corner that sometime ended up over someones face making them look sick.  And, so what if it made a loud cracking noise every once in a while that's so loud it makes Benelli and I both jump.  It played HGTV just fine and I loved it.


The problem was it was old and ugly, and with Black Friday pricing quickly approaching, we were ready to make the leap to something newer. After researching for weeks, we finally decided on the 42" LG LCD. We went a little big because our plan is to move it downstairs when we finish the basement.  At that time we may get something smaller upstairs, or (gasp!) not have a TV upstairs at all.

Unlike it's distant tube cousin, the new LCD flatscreens are thinner, lighter, and generally easier to set-up.  We had ours up and running with our cable, Wii, DVD, and PS2 (yeah, we're old school) ready to go in about 20 minutes.  I'm not going to tell you that it was like switching from an old speakeasy to surround sound, or watching The  Wizard of Oz when Dorthy wakes up in Munchkin Land and everything's in color.  It was just bigger.  Actually, so big it gave me a slight headache, (I was watching Bravo's The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, so it could have been that too).

For the next couple of weeks our eyes adjusted and we enjoyed our new toy, that was until we tried to watch a movie from my laptop to our TV.  We had bought a movie from Amazon.com for a relative for Christmas, and after we had ordered it, they offer you the chance to watch it streaming from your PC.  We thought we were so cool and ran through the house unplugging things looking for a VGA cord to plug the laptop into the TV so we could have the whole experience, like our TV manual said.  Well we did, and it was awesome.

So then a couple days later, Amazon.com gave us $5 towards another movie-on-demand.  Seriously, this was the gift that kept giving, back to us!  So we went through the same set-up as the last time, only this time something went wrong.  When we plugged the VGA cord into the laptop, there was a huge spark at the connection point to the battery.


Okay, maybe it wasn't that big, but that's what it seemed like while the computer was on my lap.  It may not have been July 4th worthy, but it was big enough to fry my laptop.  Yep, it killed my computer, my work computer. 

After the moments where Mike and I stared at each other silently with our mouths open, we finally came back to our senses and thought the problem was the battery had come loose and there was a gap at the connection, thus causing the spark.  We also bought a new VGA cord just to be on the safe side.  Having only 12 hours left to watch the movie we ordered, we borrowed my sister's laptop to try again.  Yes, we still wanted to watch the movie, we were greedy little chipmunks.  We tried it one more time and we didn't get the cord 1/2" within the computer port before it sparked again!  Mike then called LG (the maker of the TV) and began to explain our situation.  While he was on the phone, the cord, only connected to the TV, even shocked him, finally frying the TV! We then realized it couldn't have been my computer, but it had to be the TV.  Dun Dun Duuuuun. 

This began the long and annoying process of  contacting all the parties involved, including LG, Amazon.com (where we bought the TV), HP (the brand of laptop), and even AT&T (because the first subcontracted technician from LG actually said it was our cable that was shooting off an astounding 108 volts, which if true, would have blew up our cable box, TV, and computer modem.)  Needless to say, we asked for a different technician to finish the job.  Weeks went by and more phone calls were made and more appointments came and went.

While we're still not back to normal, we are to a point where we can finally relax.  Our TV's insides were replaced, including a new motherboard and power supply, and because our TV was only a couple weeks old, all work performed was under warranty.  While we're still waiting to figure out whether it was our TV that blew up the laptop or the laptop that scorched the TV, we may never know.  All companies involved have been very good about pointing fingers in opposite directions, successfully driving Mike and I crazy. 

As far as the laptop is concerned, we did contact the legal department of LG and began the process of filing a claim, but my boss, understanding it could take months before anything is agreed upon (and that's if they even agree to take blame), agreed to pay for the damage done so that I can be back to normal working conditions.

In the end we're still satisfied with our TV, (and the way it looks in the room), I'm just not sure we'll be hooking up our computers to it anytime soon!


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