It’s not the fault of your set


It’s a test pattern. Many of you probably have never seen one. Every TV station had one. Last month it became relevant in our subject of living life on wheels. We turned off the cable TV! What a relief!

In our family room we have a nice cabinet with an ugly plastic machine on it that never gets used. Between November and May we turned it on four times and didn’t watch it on two of those. With a phone call and a trip to the cable office to return the converter, we became $99 per month richer. (Richer being a literary term only.) We are now free to get TV the way the pioneers did it, snag it out of the air. Here is where the test pattern comes back into our discussion.

I knew what all those lines, circles, and numbers were for and could use them if some time machine were to take me back to 1958. TV station engineers broadcast the test pattern and adjusted the picture to make everything true to form. The portrait of the Indian Chief was to test clarity and sharpness of faces, which to this day appear on most shows. By turning off the cable we took a small step toward the test pattern. All we have to do now is buy a small antenna and get local weather free.

And of course there is the high speed internet and the toys that let us be our own TV programmers. And DVD’s. And the OFF button. So how has this worked out? In the last week we have watched the first season of WKRP in Cincinnati.

If you turn off the cable and don’t get 400 channels, “it’s not the fault of your set.” Thanks so much for joining me on our trip back in time. I always love to read your comments and share them with our community.

Picture is a large TV test pattern. It matches the standard TV format shape. It has a grid pattern and a large circle with a smaller circle in the center with lines of different contrast in all directions. In the corners are small circles similar to the center circle. In the largest circle is a portrait of an Indian Chief. If it sounds confusing, you have it right. It is.


9 thoughts on “It’s not the fault of your set

  1. I remember that test pattern, I remember when tv signed off and played the National Anthem. I remember we had a box on top of our tv with a knob that we would turn and it would turn the antenna on our roof to get the picture to come in better. I remember getting 4 VHF channels and 3 UHF channels. Huh, thanks for the trip down memory lane George. Although I must confess I like getting lots of channels, though truth be told I pretty much watch 3 of them! Lol. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I watched Destination America (has lots of ghost stories, my favorite thing to watch), Bravo (yup I like the Housewives shows, some of them and the other reality shows it has), and Travel Channel (more ghost stories on Saturday night)…I forgot about football…love the Red Zone because I play Fantasy Football so it’s an awesome channel to watch. Yeah that’s probably why the don’t offer a la carte…people would buy so few channels. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That is exactly what we do. There is a lot of free material, and we choose what we watch or don’t watch. We are with you on reading in the evening. I like mysteries (inherited from my grandmother). I can enlarge the print and adjust the colors of my Kindle or relax with an audiobook.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good for you shutting the cable off. We have what is called ROKU and I like it because on my “down days” when I absolutely need to relax, I can watch really good movies. Other than that our TV is not on at all. Music? Now that’s a different story. All day long music is played. As for the test pattern, yep I’m dating myself …. I remember it. LOL Have a great day today!! 😘

    Liked by 1 person

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