“The Mentalist” and smart TVs

Wayne MitchellWhy do they call them “smart” TVs anyway? Mine is not very smart, at least when I try to operate it. I was reminded of that when Jenny and I were watching an episode of “The Mentalist,” one of our favorite TV programs, which we had recorded on our DVR.

Jenny sometimes gets a little exasperated with me because often I hit the wrong button when I’m trying to fast-forward through the commercials, and the recording stops and starts over at the beginning.

I was doing pretty well with “The Mentalist” though; I think it had only happened once and we were getting to the exciting final few minutes where Patrick Jane always comes up with some concocted trick to trip up the culprit. All of a sudden the picture froze, indicating my recording was over. Soon the little box appeared, asking me if I wanted to delete it.

“Uh oh, what’s wrong?” I wondered. We had sat through most of the program and now we weren’t going to find out how it ended. Apparently, that episode of “The Mentalist” had originally appeared on a day when a golf tournament had run over its allotted time on CBS, and the start of the prime-time programs had been delayed several minutes.

Our “not-so-smart” TV didn’t know that. It records by time and it started on the hour even if Patrick Jane didn’t. It really has no clue what program it is recording.

No problem. I had heard someone say that network programs were available to watch online. Jenny logged on to the CBS website and found the program.

But we couldn’t figure out how to get it to advance to the final few minutes. It only would allow us to start from the beginning and the volume was so low that we could barely hear it. After several minutes of fiddling with the computer, we gave up and decided to just let the program play. When it got to the place where the recording had stopped, we each picked up one of the computer’s small speakers and held it next to our ear so we could hear.

Not exactly high tech, but it worked. I was feeling pretty good about my ingenuity until I heard Jenny on the phone trying to help her father program his DVR.

Jenny’s parents only record one program a day, “The Young and the Restless.” They didn’t know how to do that, so a year ago Jenny set up a “series recording” while she was visiting them in Kentucky. It worked fine until the cable box went out and the cable company brought out a new one.

I knew it was going to be a struggle when I heard her talking with him about hitting the “Guide” button to access the program listings. He said he didn’t think they had a “Guide” on his cable system. He uses the TV listings printed in the paper to find the channel, he said. After several unsuccessful minutes, he said he would call his cable company and ask them how to program the recording of the soap opera.

“Now that you’re retired, you need to learn how to operate your TV,” Jenny told him.

Um, I thought. I don’t know how to set up a series recording either. But I don’t need a smart TV. I’ve got a smart wife.

T. Wayne Mitchell, Gazette publisher, can be reached at 662-534-6321.

About Wayne Mitchell

Publisher of the New Albany Gazette