Breaking News: Spectrum Finally Lands…with a Thud!

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Breaking:  I interrupt this blog to bring the following post.

Spectrum has arrived as the new provider replacing Time Warner Cable (TWC).  

While their ads are touting it as something new and better, it is really crap.  I am hear to cut through the clutter and reveal the current truth of this provider.

On the surface, the only major changes seem to be just the rebranding of the name.  However, for those who previously had Charter as their provider may not be happy with what the TWC moniker brought to them.  Even worse, is what has been taken away from TWC users.

I found my first problem last week after the changeover when I could no longer get one of the channels I had previously been receiving on our DVRs.  So I decided to call and see what they could do for me since rebooting the box didn’t solve the problem.

And now let the nightmare begin.

After speaking to 8 (yes, 8) different people over the course of 1 hour and 40 minutes, I had no solution to my problem.  During the time I was on the telephone, I think I was left in limbo as the phone rang back a couple of times and someone else answered.  Each time I had to explain my problem again and again.

Some of the people were techs, customer service, and even one was just a general operator.  Some also identified themselves as employees of Spectrum while others identified themselves as employees of Time Warner Cable.  Apparently, this company is still severly fractured as the results that I received were embarrassing at best.  To make matters worse was that I asked the same question to every person I spoke with and got at least 3 different responses.  Nobody seemed to know a solution and were just guessing at a possible solution.

I finally ended the call with someone in billing and I really expected some sort of credit to my account for the frustration I recieved, but no such luck.

As far as customer service goes, they failed worse than TWC ever did.

However, the loss of one missing channel was just the beginning.

It seems that Spectrum has 3 levels of service: basic, silver, and gold.  To receive the most channels, you need the gold package.  But if you want the following channels among others:

  • Esquire
  • The Word Network
  • Jewish Life Network
  • Disney Channel West
  • Nick 2
  • New York News 1
  • CNN International

You are screwed as these channels are no longer available in any Spectrun package.  So someone is paying nearly as much as previously but with fewer channels.  In fact some channels that used to be part of TWC basic package requires the Spectrum gold package to receive them.  As far as I am concerned, Spectrum has taken a major step backward in cable service. I like to call this classic “bait and switch”.

They are also promoting their internet service now with starting speeds of 60Mbps.  In the past, I was paying extra for the TWC turbo speed.  With that service, I was averaging about 25Mbps.  After the switchover and rebooting my modem (my choice to reboot), I was getting at best a top download speed of about 38Mbps, nowhere near the 60Mbps that they are promising.  I decided not to make another phone call and waste more time with air incompetent employees.  I have been testing my speed daily and I seem to be averaging about 28Mbps, only a slight increase from the TWC service.  Maybe it might be better at say 2am, when I used to do some of my internet surfing, but I haven’t done that in months.

I cannot speak for how the phone service has gotten better or worse since I don’t have that feature.

By checking out the Spectrum Facebook page, it seems they are bombarded with complaints from around the country especially from former TWC customers.  Apparently, I am not the only dissatified with their service.

Given that the only other choices in my area is satellite and with no competition, Spectrum has to be my service.  I am hoping that the service improves and that the channels removed will be replaced and that the internet speed improves.

Currently, I have reservations of recommeding Spectrum service.  

It may be a new day according their television ad, but the dark storm clouds are prevalent.

My score:  2. (based upon current level of service)

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Some Endings…(and some that SHOULD Be)

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Here we are well into 2017 and this is my first post to this blog of the new year.

I had decided to wait long enough for the political dust to settle, but I figured that everyone is so polarized that I could be waiting forever.

Certainly, 2016 was not a fun year as my health took a major step backwards and I had several longtime friends decide to no longer want to be friends, some who were friends over 30 years.  Apparently, they felt that I was too polarizing for them.

I also didn’t want to offend any friends if I could help it.  As an examle, one of my friend’s father had passed away.  I decided to make neither a comment or leave an emoticon as I felt that the last time I made any comment I was blasted by one of their family members as I felt that the picture was funny.  Unfortunately, I decided not to let my feelings known in this very sad occasion.

It was best that I kept a fairly low profile when my health started slipping.  At this point, I still am not out of the woods regarding my health and therefore haven’t been writing much.  It is for this reason that I will not be offering any future annual predictions.  However, I will give the results of last year’s predictions.

So here are last year’s predictions and the results:

  • The Dow will slip to a low of 9,000. (No, didn’t happen.)
  • JCPenney will file for bankruptcy and close all its stores. (No, didn’t happen however the future of the local one is questionable as I write this.)
  • Sears/Kmart will close at least half of their remaining locations before going out of business by year’s end. (Not yet)
  • OfficeDepot/OfficeMax will shut all their locations to allow Staples to buy the company and satisfy the government. (Nope)
  • Playboy will have centerfolds again by September after suffering a huge drop in readers and its main focus will be on getting celebrities to pose for the pictures. ( They have returned so I was only about 5 months off..so I am calling this partly yes.)
  • Nickelodeon will replace all its programming with imported teen shows similar to what happened to Teen Nick over the past few years. (No, but the future of the network is in jeopardy.)
  • Star Wars 8 will be delayed as a major accident on the set causes filming to cease. (No, but the death of Carrie Fisher may slow down the next one.)
  • The Muppets will not see a second season. (Who really thought this mess would not get cancelled?)
  • The Voice gets cancelled. (Despite no big name winners, this show still slugs along.)
  • A new format superseding Blu-ray will be introduced, but will fail as it will not be embraced. (If you call Ultra 4k a new format, then it has not been a huge seller yet, but then again 3D discs are becoming scarce.)
  • MTV, CMT and VH1 will merge into one station. (The future of these Viacom stations are questionable at this point.)
  • Windows 10 will experience a widespread update problem that causes updates to fail for weeks. (Although some problems have existed, updates have been not interrupted much.)
  • Kylie and Kendall Jenner will both get pregnant. (As far as I know, this didn’t happen yet unless a big bombshell happens.)

Out of 13 predictions, I am calling 6 halves and only 1 fully correct.  I may bring predictions back in the future if people request it, otherwise they are history.

Now onto other topics:

“Girl Meets World” has officially been cancelled by Disney Channel.  After 3 seasons, this show has been tossed to the curb.  While I haven’t finished the last 4 episodes, I have no idea how this series will end.

I have read that there is an effort to have this show be revived somewhere else.  One of them was Netflix.  I don’t think this would be a good choice as this show is more of a linear show and not one that could be watched in some random order.  Since I don’t have this service, I cannot think that this would be a great move.
Another option would be to put this on Freeform or as I like to call it the “Harry Potter” network since these movies are always on.  They have 3 series “Switched at Birth”,”The Fosters” and “Pretty Little Liars”, all of which are soon ending.  The problem with putting the show on this network is that there are only 2 comedies and neither are what I would call family-friendly.  Unless this network revamped its entire lineup, this show would never have a chance.

My choice would be to put this show on Friday nights on abc, preferably at 8:30pm – the slot currently occupied by “Dr. Ken”. The best thing about putting this show on Friday is that it’s predecessor was on that night for several years.  Hopefully, this could happen and save this good show.

However I cannot say the same for “Riverdale”.  If you grew up in the 1970’s, then you might remember the Archie cartoon series or if you are older you might know the comic book series.  Unfortunately, this show is not a thing like it’s pedigree should be.  This show is more like a fanboy sick fantasy than a really great show.  This show has it all: murder, interracial relationships, lesbian kissing, and sex, just to name a few.  This is where the show has many of its problems.  Like many shows of this type, it all starts with a murder and the show goes downhill from there.  The only difference is that this show uses the Archie comic characters as the basis of the story.  Like “The Muppets” from last season, this show deserves to die quickly and not be rebooted at all.  My score: 1

This show has absolutely no redeeming value and it’s sick lesbian kiss between Betty and Veronica was just too much to unsee.

Finally, I want to discuss the current state of the Time Warner/Spectrum merger.  Here in Maine, it has not happened yet.  We have been promised an updated program guide and still no changes.  Ads are still running with the TWC moniker and no indication of the Spectrum name can be found.  Rumor is that changes are supposed to happen by the end of this month.  The only changes to date is to the phone app, which is nothing more than rebranding the TWC app with the Spectrum name.  I really expected more than this especially after all these months since the merger.

To wrap up this post: 

  • My predictions have ended.
  • “Girl Meets World” has ended.
  • “Riverdale” should end.
  • Time Warner Cable should end it’s name locally and embrace its Spectrum name.

Finally, 2017 will be a year of anniversaries, 3 of them none that are overly happy.  Two will be discussed in my other blog, the third in this one.  The first will come next month.

My next blog post here will be the start of my Florida trip from last year.  It won’t be a boring travel log, but rather a look at interesting things along the way.

Until next time, comments are always welcome here or my Facebook page.

Congratulations to the NEW Couple?

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Yesterday, Charter Communications completed its acquisition of Time Warner Cable and its sibling Bright House.

 

While for TWC this change may be a slight upgrade in service, it seems that it might be a big downgrade for Bright House; at least that is what I see from how Consumer Reports have reported the 3 different services.  While I cannot report on Bright House or its customers, TWC seems that this might be a plus.

 

So while no changes will happen in the near future, I expect that very soon all those annoying TWC commercials will be replaced by talks of the Charter merger.  Along with that, I expect to start seeing changes in how we receive our service.

 

First changes I expect is saying goodbye to the words “Time Warner Cable” off the guide along with that weird blue swirl thing.  Just getting rid of these is a start to prove that TWC does not exist anymore as is.

 

Over the next couple of months, I expect that the entire guide will change (for the better, given how their other guides look).  This change will include the elimination of the dull looking guide along with a complete renumbering of the channel numbers.  While this may seem like an inconvenience, it may be in the long run a big plus.

 

I also expect to see a much faster internet service and hopefully more fulfilling experience.  Given what I have read the service that Charter offers for the same price as what I pay now means that my service would go from 15mps to 60mps (on average).  This is a much worthy upgrade if it really happens.

 

Overall, everything I have said here is speculation given what I have seen on Charter’s website in their areas already being serviced by them.

 

Given that the DVR service here has not really been upgraded since last November, any upgrade and bug extermination would be much appreciated.

 

As always I will keep you informed of changes to services (at least as I see them here in the Portland Maine area).  I am optimistic that big things and good things may happen in the very near future.

 

Fingers crossed for a better cable and internet.

3 Things That Just May Be Wrong (and Soon Gone)

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This week’s post contains content that may be offensive to some readers.  Discretion is advised.

 

The new television season has brought us the umpteenth year of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”  A new year brings another new host.  This year we have “The Bachelor’s” Chris Harrison as the new host of the show.  This is the first white male host since the show entered syndication.  Unlike last year’s host Terry Crews, Harrison is much more subdued, almost comatose as host in a way not unlike the way Regis Philbin was during the network run.  It is unfortunate that this guy lacks personality because he might be a good host, but the show is plagued by going back to the old way of playing.

 

In the past seasons, the dollar amounts in the game were shuffled up with some easy questions getting big dollars associated with them.  Now, the show has reverted back to the stepladder approach, which means that the show can and does give away much less prize money.  Unless the player reaches one of the first of two winning plateaus which is $5,000 and they get a wrong answer, the player winds up with nothing.  In the past seasons, a player left with at least $1,000 just for playing.  Unfortunately, this year more zeros have been given away than normal so far.  I think they should at least give the player something for showing up.  Personally, I don’t see this show being as enjoyable anymore since they turned the show back to the way it was in its early life.  If this show survives this season, I would be surprised.  This show needs some refreshing along with a host with personality.

 

Next up, is the ABC/Disney show of “The Muppets”.  This is not your daddy’s “Muppet Show” nor is this any of the Muppet movies.  This is not a kid-friendly show despite airing at the family hour of 8pm EST.  After watching the first episode, I realized that all the jokes were presented in the preview of the show leaving nothing funny in the show.  Unfortunately, none of the episodes since the first have been the least bit funny nor would they appeal to children.  As a person who grew up watching the original “Muppet Show”, I am disappointed that this show even exists.

 

For those who haven’t watched this show, it chronicles the behind the scenes of Miss Piggy’s late night talk show.  Since children don’t stay up to watch late night talk shows (or at least they shouldn’t), this show would not appeal to them.  I just keep shaking my head wondering how this show could even exist.  Somewhere, creator Jim Henson is rolling around in his grave.  I believe that Disney should take this show off the air and either come up with something else or just kill it off completely.  I am hoping this show doesn’t last a full season – it does not deserve it.

 

Finally, if you have not already heard, Playboy is giving up on its nude women in its magazines.  The subscriptions for the magazine have dropped from over 5 million in the 1970’s to under 1 million today.  Now of course magazines in general have lost popularity along with printed books and therefore many bookstores have closed.

 

However, it always seemed that porn defied industry trends.  No matter the times, it seems that the thirst for naked women has never ended.  However, now given the internet, porn is readily available freely with a mouse click away.  Many of the pictures are much more explicit than anything that Playboy has ever published and now it seems that everyone is getting naked on the internet including minors.  With cellphones being so popular, children are posting inappropriate pictures of themselves at near record numbers.  What makes this worse is that many parents just don’t care what their children are doing anyway.

 

So with so much nudity available everywhere, it should be obvious that the time has come for Playboy to change to a more conservative magazine.  I have the feeling that the magazine will look a lot like GQ, Maxim, and those other provocative magazines.  With so many choices, how could a magazine like Playboy survive?  Possibly being unwrapped and placed at the checkout counter right by the TV Guide and People Magazine.  After all, if a child flipped through it, it would be like “been there, seen that”, even though it is still seems so wrong.

 

So will Playboy survive when it makes its changes next March?  I think the magazine will be history by year-end assuming it lasts that long.

 

Overall, I see two TV shows and one magazine that have gone completely the wrong way and yet the year is not even over.

 

What other things could possibly go wrong over the next few months?

 

Oh yeah, we have a Presidential election coming next year and that will certainly have a lot of wrong to it.

 

Going Back to Go Forward — Hilary Duff Style

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She’s back!

 

Yes, Hilary Duff has come back into the world of entertainment.

 

In the 8 years that she has been gone, she has gotten married, had a child, got tattoos (which she said at one time she would NEVER do), and gotten a divorce.

 

While she has never really been off the radar screen, she has not been doing anything in the entertainment field for quite a while.

 

However, this doesn’t mean that her return to the entertainment world has been stellar.

 

In the last few months she has costarred in the TV Land series “Younger”.   Honestly I do not like this show at all because it seems to be just a watered down version of shows like “Sex in the City”.  I could live without all the sex talk that this show has and this show is not the least bit funny to me.  Unfortunately this show will have a second season whether I like it or not.  Maybe I am just not the show’s target audience.  However, I don’t think that Hilary’s fans are the target audience for this show either.  I would have preferred a “Lizzie McGuire” sequel show sort of like what happened to “Boy Meets World”.  Well, maybe someday it might happen.

 

Now we have the release of her new cd that happened in the last week.  While I have not heard more than a couple of tracks from the cd, I must admit that she sounds like the same sort of kid style music that she released years ago.

 

While the lyrics may sound adult, the singing itself sounds like she did 10 years ago.  Whether this is a good thing or a bad one depends on your perspective of her.  Certainly her audience has matured and so should her music and her voice, but it seems someone is manipulating her voice to sound the same as it did back then

 

This leads me to the major issue that I have had with a couple of live performances that she has recently been on in the last week.  Both “Live with Kelly and Michael” and “The View”, it appeared that she was lip-syncing her song “Sparks”, which she performed on both shows.  On both shows, the performance sounded exactly the same with no change in pitch or any other inflections in sound.

 

However, after the “Live” show, the hosts quickly interviewed her after the performance and it was apparent that the microphone that she was holding was not working because it had a hollow sound when she spoke.  Of course, being a live show maybe they thought nobody would ever notice the difference.

 

While this is not the career-ending type of appearance that Ashlee Simpson made on “SNL” a few years ago, it does however bring up the long-standing question as to whether she lip-syncs her songs or performs them live.  I used to be part of yahoo groups that made this a major discussion and the consensus was that she was lip-syncing her live performances.

 

Quite honestly, I would love for her not to have to resort to this type of behavior, but it seems that this is the way she is always going to perform her music.  I will say that I like the song and the bits of other songs that I have heard but I have to give the performances a score of 3.

 

As far as the cd itself is concerned, I have not had a chance to listen to the whole cd yet I refer fans of hers to buy the deluxe version at Target, which has a couple of bonus songs for the same price as other stores have it at.  Just a note, that this edition will probably be available while supplies last only, so if you want it don’t wait until the holidays to buy it as I don’t think it will be around then.   So I will not grade this item at the foreseeable future.

 

Overall, Hilary Duff’s return is a mixed bag.  She is trying to perform like she did as a child, but her grownup role just doesn’t work.  If only shows like TRL on MTV were still around to make her more relevant to today’s kids.  But then again MTV is not relevant anymore either.

 

However, the early 2000’s are not dead for girl group Dream is reuniting to perform together again.  If they sound like they did back then, I think my head is really going to explode not that it hasn’t already done that.  Stay tuned.

CBS Not So Super Moves

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This week I am going to discuss superheroes.

 

In particular, I am going to talk about Superman and Supergirl.

 

First off, let’s talk Superman.

 

More specifically, the “I Love Lucy Superstar Special” that aired on CBS a couple of weeks ago.

 

While it was nice to see these 2 classic episodes that ran, I have the same complaint as I do with any colorized show.

 

Why ruin a perfectly good episode adding something that doesn’t belong in the first place.  My thought is that the colors were off especially the color of Lucille Ball’s hair color.  I don’t think that her hair was ever so orange as it was portrayed in these episodes.

 

I was also disturbed by the skin tones as they didn’t look realistic.  Everybody looked the same skin color.  Even more disturbing were the colors of things in general that looked pale and washed out.

 

I would have much more have rather have watched these episodes in a high-definition format over having them colorized.  Since these shows were shot on film, I don’t think it would be hard to have transferred them to a HD format.  Then again, if no HD print exists, they still could have made it look better in HD.

 

Ultimately, I really did not like watching these colorized shows and wish they would stop producing them once and for all.  However, as long as people are curious of them (no matter how inaccurate or bad); they will continue to be produced.

 

My grade for this special is 5.  There was nothing special about this special.  My eyes are still burning by the orange hair.

 

Now about that new Supergirl series.

 

CBS has released a trailer for the new Supergirl series that they plan on airing this fall,

 

Honestly, I thought at first that this was a wonderful idea.

 

After all, it has been over 30 years since Supergirl has made a real live action appearance.  Of course, we did see the Supergirl alter ego character (Kara) appear during a couple of seasons of “Smallville” played quite well by Laura Vandervoort.  Even though, we never saw her dawn the famous suit, she did wear colors at times that resemble what might very well have become the famous suit.

 

This leads me to the first complaint of this show: the miscasting of the lead character.  I believe that the Supergirl character should have enough body to fill out the suit, not be some waif girl who looks like someone who looks like a wimpy girl.

 

While it would have been nice to have had Laura reprise her role, I wonder if she was even considered for the part.  Certainly she would have looked better in the famous suit.

 

Next problem is the suit itself.  While I don’t expect that the series was going to use the more common, V-neck costume, I was bothered that this costume looked exactly like the suit worn in the last Superman movie.  Did they get the same tailor to get the suit to look the same?  However, the V-neck would have been nice to see.  Just as we saw the low-cut costume on Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman costume back in the 1970’s.  Were they bothered by the potential of a wardrobe malfunction?  This probably explains why the original Wonder Woman movie that aired back in the 1970’s starred Cathy Lee Crosby in a jumpsuit.  My eyes still burn thinking about that.

 

Next is the casting of a black Jimmy Olsen.  While some may praise the diversity of a colored character, why not just introduce a new character that is black?  Somewhere the 1950’s Jimmy Olsen Jack Larsen is rolling around in his grave, even though he isn’t dead.  I think that this character should go back to its classic redhead boy and be recast before the show debuts.

 

The network still has time to tweak this show before it hits the network in the fall.  What bothered me the most about the trailer was that it reminded me of the movie “The Devil Wears Prada”.  The scenes looked exactly like they were taken right out of this movie.

 

Overall, will I watch this show?  I will start out watching it.

 

Will this show last?  I believe its fate will be determined quickly as fans will quickly tire of too much girl talk and not enough real action.  Unless, they find some real villains for Supergirl quickly, this show is doomed.

 

How long will this show last?  Since this show doesn’t appear to be an origin show like “Smallville”, I don’t see this show lasting 10 years like that show did.  I see 3 seasons at most, if it can even survive the first season.

 

I will report back later when the real pilot episode premieres in the fall as I don’t want to assume that some changes won’t be made in the meantime.  I will not grade the trailer since it has too many issues as mentioned above.

 

So is CBS heading to making a Super-mistake in the fall as it did with the Lucy special?

 

Hopefully, Supergirl can survive the greatest enemy of them all: cancellation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Go Blue? (Or is it Blu?)

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The other day I was in the video section of one local store and I overheard one lady tell someone else she was with that she had a particular movie on VHS.  She said this so loudly that I thought she was actually proud of the fact that she still owned a VHS player and plays movies on it.

 

When I heard this, I almost hit the floor.  I thought was this lady serious?  If so, then stores like Blockbuster would still be in business today along with hundreds of mom and pop video stores in this country.  Maybe she hadn’t caught on to something called DVD yet or maybe it was just sarcasm at its worse.

 

Either way, the industry has moved ahead with a little new format called Blu-ray.  Blu-ray is not new as it has been around for several years now but is only just starting to come down significantly in price during this holiday season.

 

First off let me say that the players themselves have been available for under $50 this holiday season for a basic Blu-ray player, although a more sophisticated one can be had for well under $100.  These machines not only play the Blu-ray discs but also standard DVDs as well, which makes DVDs seem almost non-obsolete.  Many of the machines also can double as sort of “smart TV” as many have special apps that can play games, surf the internet, or connect to your favorite social media site.   Certainly these machines are very unlike the DVD players of years’ past.

 

The discs themselves have seen a remarkable drop in price especially during Black Friday a couple of weeks ago as some retailers were selling Blu-ray discs for as cheap as under $2.  Now while there are some lousy discs out there, gems could be found on the cheap as well.  Many of these releases were from this year but some were older than that.

 

As far as the packaging is concerned, this is where some find confusion.  So here is how I figure it with the various packages.  Let’s go through them individually:

 

  • Blu-ray disc only:  the package contains only a Blu-ray disc possibly with additional features.
  • Blu-ray disc and Digital HD: same as above with a special code or disc that allows for playing on a computer, phone, tablet or other device.  Note that these expire usually within 2 years and something I have never used or tried because of their short lives.
  • Blu-ray disc and DVD and Digital HD (aka combo pack): same as above but with the addition of a DVD copy of the movie.  However, it should be noted that the DVD could be just a movie only version and may or may not contain the same extras that the standalone DVDs would have.  Usually some of these discs contain the digital copy rather than the extras that would be on these discs.  Certainly this is the preferred purchase as you get both types of disc, but buyer-beware on what the DVD actually has.
  • 3D Blu-ray: sometimes sold most times in combination with any of the above these discs only work on 3D TVs.  While I don’t have a 3D TV, I can’t say how well these discs perform.  However, most 3D discs have no extras which make them a trade-off with the standard Blu-ray discs.
  • 4K Blu-ray discs: these are not available yet, but expected to appear on the shelves in 2015.  No details on if these discs will have any space for extras on them yet.  These discs are meant for the ultra-high resolution TVs making their way into the marketplace in the past few months.  Whether these discs will be packaged with other formats is the biggest question mark of all.

 

The best resource that I recommend is going to the website Blu-ray.com.  Here detailed descriptions of discs can be found along with movie ratings and prices.  The downside to the price part is that the majority of the prices mentioned is from Amazon along with links to purchase discs from them.  However, given that many stores will now match Amazon this is more of a feature than an inconvenience.

 

Finally, the quality picture and sound is superior to DVDs, but they do vary from title to title.  Again, the above mentioned resource is your best bet to get the real lowdown on new and old titles alike.

 

Overall, if you have a capable HD TV and wish to upgrade to Blu-ray, then I would highly recommend that this is the season and year to do just that.  So hop into those bargain bins and join the blue (or Blu) revolution, time is wasting!

 

Next week, in my last post of the year, I will be discussing quite possibly the worst customer service experience ever.  If you thought you heard me talk about bad before, get ready for the lowest point in customer service as so many things went wrong that you really will wonder if it is all real, but trust me it will be.  Get ready for possibly the longest and most enjoyable post of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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