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HDTV Purchase, and More

By Gary F. Zeolla

I had been saving for several major purchases for quite some time. So in the spring of 2014 I went on a "spending spree." Among these items was a HDTV, and a couple of companion items. These make my TV viewing much more enjoyable and enable me to be much more discriminatory in my viewing. This is important as I am forced to watch a lot more TV than I care to admit due to my health problems. But given the amount of time I spend watching TV, I am well-versed to comment on TV shows and movies.

As such, on this new section on TV and Movies on this Web site I will post short reviews and other comments about various TV shows and movies from a Christian perspective. This will help the reader to make more informed choices on what to watch. To begin this section, I am re-producing here messages I posted about each of my spending spree purchases on my Facebook page. I am going back to the two purchases before the HDTV, as I think these messages might also be of interest to the reader, and they show how I believe the LORD was leading in in each of these purchases.

The product links are to where they can purchased from Amazon, as that is where I purchased all of the items (except the car of course).

New Car

I took my very old car (a 1999 Buick Century) to be inspected, but it would cost a grand to fix everything necessary for it to pass inspection. I have been holding off buying a new car as, due to my health problems, I rarely leave my home and thus rarely drive anywhere. So it didn’t make sense to spend money on a new car. But it also doesn’t make sense to spend a grand on a car that isn’t worth that much. So it is now time to get a new car.

I don’t have the money to buy a truly “new” car, so I will be looking for a used car, but hopefully one much newer and in much better shape than what I now have. Looking around for a car won’t be easy for me due to my health problems. So please pray for me that I am able to manage and to find something worthwhile that I can afford.

Thank you to everyone who gave me birthday wishes. To celebrate my birthday, I got myself a new car! Actually, I thank the LORD for leading me to just the right vehicle: a 2012 Chevy Cruze LS, with less than 14,000 miles for less than $14,000. Everything looks brand new: the engine, the tires, the body, and the inside. It is still under manufacture warranty, with one previous owner, and a clean Carfax.

It only has a 4 cylinder, 1.8L engine, but it drives great. I test drove up a steep, long hill and on a highway, and it has plenty of power, and drives smoothly. It is very comfortable to sit in. The dashboard looks amazing, with mostly digital displays and many modern features. It has a large trunk. And an added bonus, it is red, my favorite color.

I spent much time this week researching car Web sites, the Web sites of local dealers, and reading reviews. Then I spent most of yesterday going back and forth between local dealers, looking at and test driving different vehicles. I got the car at Devy Auto Park (formerly Deveroux’s) in Freeport, PA. They were very helpful, and gave me more than I expected for my trade-in. That is how I was able to stay below my budgeted $14K and still get such a wonderful car. I was exhausted afterwards, but I truly thank the LORD for leading me to the perfect car!


Smart Phone

I just got a new cell phone! I was going to get a smart phone through Verizon, but I with the way I use it, it really wasn’t worth the extra cost. So I decided to stick with Net10 and got a Samsung S390G. It’s not quite a smart phone, but it’s more advanced than the slide-out keyboard phone I’ve been using for over 4 years.

It can access the internet using Wi-Fi, so I won’t use up my minutes if I want to browse the Web. The browser is so so. But I was happy to see my own Web sites worked and looked okay in it. But now I have to manually enter all of my contacts, so I got a lot of typing on a small keyboard to do. But I’m getting used to it!

The Net10 I posted about getting on Thursday did not work out. The stupid thing did not work right. I spent three hours on Tech Support yesterday trying it get work, to no avail. They finally decided it needed a new SIM card, but it would take 3-5 business days to come, and they would not be sending it until Monday. My cell phone is my only phone, so that was not acceptable. I told them to overnight it to me, but they refused. So I am returning the phone.

Instead, I did what I wanted to do in the first place: I got a smart phone! I posted back in January 2010 that I finally got a cell phone, and that I felt like I was the last person in the USA to get one. Someone responded to that post, “You were!”

Well now I was feeling like the only person in the USA without a smart phone. Even my dad got one recently! So I took the plunge and got the just released Samsung Galaxy S5. And I’m glad I waited. It is really nice. Once I get it figured out, hopefully I’ll be posting from it. And if you know me personally, I’ll probably be sending you a text.


There was a free Bible ap, You Verson, available in the Play Store on my S5, so it was the first ap I downloaded. It works great, and has many versions available including the NKJV, my favorite version.


I just got a HDTV! Similar to my cell phone, I felt like I was the last person in America watching a tube TV. But I waited until I got my car and smart phone, to see what they would cost, before getting a HDTV.

I wasn’t sure what specs to get, so on Easter I asked a couple of my relatives (my niece’s husband Pat and my nephew Jon). Both agreed it was worth the extra money it to get a LED TV with a 1080p resolution and 120 Hz refresh rate. But I didn’t want a smart TV, just a TV. And Pat said it might be hard to get a TV with those specs that wasn’t a smart TV, and he was right. The only brand I could find was Toshiba L2400 series, so that is what I got.

I didn’t want a smart TV since, as my nephew put it, “You take something simple like a TV and make it as complicated as a computer.” Also, if the “smart” part breaks, you lose the whole TV. And to upgrade the smart part, you have to get a whole new TV. So I thought it best to get the TV now, then maybe later I will add a Roku for Internet access.

In any case, going from a 23” tube TV to a 40” HDTV is an amazing experience. Watching a movie is like being at a movie theater, and watching the Pirates is like being at PNC Park. And I hate to admit it, but the atheistic “Cosmos” reboot looks amazing. Those Hubble pictures are just dazzling.

So in the past month I have bought a new car, a smart phone, and a HDTV. These were all items I’ve been wanting to get for a long time, as the items I looking to replace were all many years old and out-of-date. But I thought it best to wait, save up as much money as I could, then buy the best and most up-to-date products I could get. This way, hopefully, they will all last me many years before wearing out or getting too out-of-date.

And that is what I got: great quality and very up-to-date items. I thank the LORD for leading me to just the right product for each item. So I am very happy now. But my spending spree is officially over. It is now time to go back to saving money.


DVR Expander

A week ago, I said my buying spree was over, but I wanted to get one more thing: a DVR Expander. With now having a HDTV, I want to watch everything in HD, but doing so requires recording in HD. But recording HD takes up much more space than recording SD. And it became obvious that I would very quickly fill up my DVR.

For instance, when I record a Pirates’ game I like to record 5 hours just in case it goes into extra innings. But doing so took up 25% of my DVR. But now with a DVR Expander attached, it only takes 3%. So now I can record to my heart’s content.

This is important as this way I can record just anything that looks interesting, and thus will always have something to watch. So when I watch something, if I don’t’ like it, or it offends me in some way (like the “Parenthood” finale I posted about recently, see TV Shows Comments), I can just delete it and go on to something else.

The Expander I got is WD My Book AV DVR Expander . And it works just fine. Just one little tip, for some strange reason, when you set it up, you need to plug in the eSATA cable into the DVR first, then into the Expander. If you do it the other way, the DVR won’t turn on.


I just got a Roku. I was going to wait, but I got it now for three reasons.

First, Roku just came out with their Roku 3500R Streaming Stick. It only cost $49, half of the cost of the Roku 3 I was planning on getting. The Roku Stick plugs directly into the HDTV’s HDMI port, so no cable is required. And it is powered via the HDTV’s USB port, so no need to plug it into an electrical outlet, which was nice as I have no outlets left on the two power strips I have in my home office/ TV room.

Second, I signed up for Amazon Prime a long time ago for the free two day shipping, but somewhere along the way they added Instant Video to it, which has lots of free movies and TV shows available. Since I was already paying for it, I figured I might as well use it.

Third, I never watched “24,” but with all the hoopla about it with the new season starting, I checked my cables’ OnDemand service. And they had all 8 previous seasons available, but only the first episode of each season was free. It cost $20/ season for the rest. I watched the Pilot, and (as I’m sure many “24” fans will attest), is a great adrenaline rush. So I checked Amazon, and sure enough, it had all episodes of all 8 seasons available for free. So that was the clincher.

I ordered it Sunday, got it yesterday (Tuesday). It was easy to set up the Roku and Instant Video, as long as you follow the instructions in the 4-page booklet and onscreen and you have your PC in the same room as the TV. It took about half an hour total. So I had a “24” marathon last night, watching the next 3 episodes.

There is one Christian channel I might subscribe to later (Parables.TV). If I do, I’ll post my thoughts on it then. But otherwise, I’m not planning on signing up for any other Roku channel. Between 100+ HD channels with my cable service that I can record to my heart’s content with my DVR Expander, and now Instant Video via the Roku, I should have plenty to watch during the time I’m forced to rest. So that should keep me from complaining anymore about lousy shows.

And that is it for my spending spree. I mean it this time!

I noticed something interesting about my HDTV last night. When watching shows on my Roku, the picture and sound are significantly better than when watching shows on cable. The sound is not only louder but has the resounding bass of a movie theater. I would have thought it would be the opposite. But that means I might start watching more shows with my Roku.


Lost, but Lovin' My Little Red Car

Coming home from my nephew’s I got lost. I didn’t want to, but I ended up in downtown Pittsburgh. But it gave me a chance to test the maneuverability of my new car. I threw several U turns and three point turns, and it handles great! I’m lovin’ my little red car. And I finally found my way out of the maze that is Pittsburgh.

I just downloaded a GPS ap to my smart phone. So hopefully that won’t happen again. But it was fun getting a self-guided tour of Pittsburgh, as I hadn’t been downtown in quite some time. And it gave me an excuse to whip around in my little red car.


Galaxy S5 NOT Water Resistant

Samsung advertises the Galaxy S5 as being water resistant. It is NOT. Mine got wet and got ruined. But thank God it was still under warranty. So Verizon overnighted me a new phone. But just the main part of the phone; I had to transfer the battery, back cover, and SIM card from the old one (along with my micro SD card). But still, I was thankful for the replacement.

I charged it up last night, and activated it this morning. A few snags along the way, but it did automatically restore my contacts from the Cloud, and I had all of my pics on the micro SD card. But it messed up my Caller ID pics, so I will need to manually reset those. I also need to reset all of my preferences, re-download all of my aps, and reset those. So I still got a lot of work to do.

I kept my previous phone before the S5 in a snack Zip bag to keep it from getting wet, but I didn’t think I needed to do that with the S5 supposedly being water resistant. And I didn’t think the touch screen would work with plastic over it. But I just discovered that a Giant Eagle brand snack zip bag fits very snug on the S5 (with an added border), and the touch screen works just fine. So I will be keeping it that on now. It might look a little weird, but it is better than this happening again.

The border I am referring to is Amzer Border Case for Samsung Galaxy S5 .


The above messages were first posted on my Facebook page on the indicated dates
and then were posted on this Web site.

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