Wednesday, November 29, 2006


So I'm watching TV. Alone. (Hard to believe, huh?) I know. Shut up.

I'm not really expecting much, and I've kind of forgotten just what Tom Waits' whole deal is, but he comes on and does a song that, well, by the end of it, I broke into spontaneous applause. I just plain couldn't help myself. It was full-on awesome. For the record, if you're alone and you see something great and you feel compelled to express your satisfaction, clapping doesn't really make you feel any less akward than just talking to yourself.

But the thing is, this song kicked so much ass, I had to find a way to extract it from the DVR. That's something I've been thinking about trying to do for a while now, but this performance finally provided the impetus. So I went through a mental inventory of all the hardware and cables I own and thought of how I could extract just the audio.

I spent a few bucks on a digital soundcard a while back. That has an optical input, and the DVR has an optical output. Hey, that's something. Yup, it requires unhooking and moving my desktop computer downstairs for a bit, and that's a mess, but whatever. No guts, no glory.

And there's the whole stupid kabob. Optical soundcard hanging off the back there. Optical cable just waiting to plug into it. Red light of digital joy beaming entertainment onto the floor like that. Just plug it in and capture the goodness.

Um, no. Smartass. That red light is carrying a surround sound signal; six separate audio channels. Bringing the computer downstairs so there's an optical input available was a nice idea, but this optical input only records regular old two channel stereo, not surround sound. In short, it won't work and you are a loser. That $400 soundcard ain't so cool now, is it? Why don't you just put the computer, keyboard, mouse, cables, and all that other mess right back where you found it? Looking forward to that, aren't you?

Alright. So much for making digital copies of all the interesting music I hear on TV. Well screw those stupid little digits anyway. All they do is get people sued. Let's go low-tech.

There. A 99-cent cable, some analog stereo outputs and a weenie little mp3 player input. Ok, so not fully low-tech, but it hooks up in four seconds, requires no additional software, and isn't technically what you'd call a "digital" copy. In fact, it kind of sounds like hell. What have we learned here?


owner said...

We've learned that the DVR has a setting that will let it work digitally, and that I was too dumb to find it before I brought my computer down and back upstairs.

Nato said...

...But on the bright side, you got some good exercise.