Monday, September 03, 2012

The Magic Box

This is us - just add a few kids
Larry and I, it must be fairly clear by now, are not yet fully ensconced in the current century.  For example, our TV is one of those old types that you see offered on Freecycle (with no takers) every single day.  If we want to stream something from Netflix, say, we gather the kids around the computer desk to watch whatever it is on the 19" monitor.  For a while we have known that there is probably a better way to do this sort of thing, but we haven't been able to figure it out.  For a time, David had even rigged up some cables from the computer and dropped them through the floor vent to our family room below; that somehow enabled us to watch a not-very-clear picture of some movies on our quaint TV.  But the set-up stopped working, and we couldn't figure out why.

I know - we sound pathetic.  But we were resigned to our fate.  Mostly.  I mean, I did have a hankering to see Downton Abbey; but there just didn't seem to be a way. 

Anywhoo, a friend of mine and I have recently instituted a gals' movie night, because ...well, do we really need a reason?  Our plan is to only watch movies our husbands would hate.  That way, we can enjoy our cinematic experience without feeling waves of resentment and disgust emanating from our fellow viewers.  Foreign films, chick flicks, touchy-feely whatever...oh, it is glorious!

So!  The first night I go to her house, and it turns out she has one of those comfy family rooms where you can actually enjoy watching a movie.   "Let's check Netflix," she said, settling on the couch and picking up her remote.

"What?  Netflix on your TV?  Don't you have to go upstairs to your computer?" asked Ma Ingalls here, taking off her prairie bonnet and smoothing her skirts as she sat down in front of the fancy flat screen HD whatever.

The magic box
"Oh, no, we just have a little box here..." my friend said.


I must say, she seemed a little taken aback by my urgency.  But I couldn't stop.

"Do you need a fancy TV to use it?  Where did you get it?  How does it connect to Netflix?" I demanded.  "TELL ME NOW!"

"Well, I don't really know...I guess it connects to the wireless, right?" she said, eyeing me a little uneasily.

"It's THAT simple?  Just a new TV and a little box?  We don't all have to huddle around the computer to watch a Three Stooges episode?"  I couldn't believe it.  A short 10-minute walk to Best Buy and I could watch Downton Abbey like everyone else?

I spent the next few weeks researching prices and dragging David to Best Buy to explain things to me.  Turns out that kid knew about the little box all along.  "WHY didn't you tell me?" I asked him.  "I NEED this!"

So, today - today was the day of reckoning.  "Look!" I said to an unsuspecting Larry, brandishing the weekly Best Buy circular in front of him.  "Look!  A TV!  On sale!  And a ROKU box!  Do you have any money?"

You know what's interesting?  It's way easier to convince my spouse to buy electronics than to buy bedroom furniture.  And, yes, our mattress/boxspring is still on the floor.  I'm pretty much used to it by now.

[Old TV image:]
[New TV image: CNet]


  1. Enjoy! Hope installation goes smoothly.

  2. Yay! Welcome to the modern world... and with plenty of time before season 3 of Downton Abby!

  3. I just KNEW you were a Ma Ingalls at heart! Now go hang that laundry on the line!

  4. And the great thing is -- you can churn butter or braid straw for hats while you're watching old episodes of Doctor Who!

  5. Ma Ingalls! That's great!

    We have one of those magic boxes, but alas, I still don't even know how to turn on our new-fangled TV, much less get something on Netflix. I have to ask one of the dang whippersnapper children. So I have yet to see Downton Abbey.

    Enjoy The Box!

  6. Downton Abbey. You're going to love it. Watch both Seasons 1 and 2 so that you'll be ready for the third season when it premieres in January! TRUST ME!!!!

    1. I second this recommendation. (Look at that! I hang my laundry on the line and am AHEAD of you regarding Downton Abbey! Score for the Modern Ma!)

  7. Yes, the Roku box is lovely. We have one that I mostly use to get Internet radio, because our radio reception here is nonexistent. (and I am an NPR junkie). Installation is super simple-I did it myself.

  8. My husband is an early adopter, so big screen, surround sound has been a part of my life for a very long time. It's only recently though, that I get to watch what I want to watch on it. Life is good.

  9. Well, shoot... now you are ahead of me in technology. Where is the love, I ask you? Where is the solidarity? Where is the Best Buy ad?