Time to study up in order to learn how to use the smart TV

1/5/2013

We have a smart TV.

We have a smart TV.

That just means I'm too dumb to know how it works.

I can turn it on.

I can turn it off.

I can change channels.

Don't ask me how to change it to 3-D.

Don't ask me how to surf the Internet on it.

Don't even ask me how to play a movie in the Blu-Ray player.

My kids tell me it's a great TV.

As I'm writing this, I have about a week before they head back to college to learn how to use this fantastic television.

That's my goal.

I don't need to be as smart as the television, but I need to know how to enjoy all the stuff this TV can do.

As I had written before, my son, Alek, and my daughter's boyfriend, Trevor, are the IT guys I turn to.

This may be their greatest challenge, to teach me how to operate the television they love so much.

Don't get me wrong, I like the TV. I like all the possibilities it offers.

I want to be able to watch a movie in 3-D if I want. Heck, I want to be able to watch a movie.

The joke in the family is that whenever we sit down to watch a movie as a family, the only time I let go of the remote control is when I need someone to push the right buttons to start the movie, and then again when the movie ends and I want to watch TV again.

They tried to teach me, but up until now, I was content to let them turn the movie on and off for me.

Some of my greatest frustrations in life are turning on the TV only to find it is set to play a movie or a video game.

Trying to get the television on after others watch movies or play video games makes me feel like I was dropped into a foreign country and told to adapt.

If you are old enough to remember when switching channels meant getting up, walking over to the TV and manually changing stations from ABC to CBS to NBC and maybe PBS, then you remember how great we thought the invention of the remote control was.

It was revolutionary. It meant we could sit in our favorite seat and switch channels without the Herculean task of getting up and walking over to turn the dial.

Now, I look at one of the remotes it takes to operate the television, and I wonder what all these buttons are for.

There should be fewer buttons, and each button should fully explain itself.

I should not have to rely on someone who has no idea what an 8-track is to operate my TV.

I am falling farther and farther behind.

It's not enough I am getting older and my body doesn't move like it used to.

It's not enough I look forward to getting to bed early and these days sleeping in means 8 a.m. — if I'm lucky.

It's not enough I look at my brother's balding scalp and wonder when my time is coming, — but now technology is lapping me.

I used to think it was a great accomplishment to learn how to operate a computer.

Now kids barely old enough to walk across the street by themselves could teach me more than I could ever comprehend about computers.

But I'm not giving up.

If I can learn how to operate this television, maybe I can steal back a little of my youth and feel like I am still capable of learning something new.

After all, I'm told it's a really great TV.

Patrick Murphy, of Humphrey, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.

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