26 June 2015

La série noire... actuelle

So it turns out that one of our satellite decoder units — from CanalSat, the only remaining satellite TV provider in France — really has bitten the dust. (On peut dire ça en français aussi — le décodeur en question a mordu la poussière.) I messed with it for a couple of hours yesterday morning, but couldn't revive it. This is not the first time one of the decoders has suddenly given up the ghost (a rendu l'âme) chez nous.

I'm decorating this post with some more photos that I took near Le Château d'Angillon three weeks ago.

We have two such decoder boxes, one upstairs in the loft room and one in the living room. I brought the one from the loft down here to the living room and hooked it up to see if it would work here. At first, it wouldn't. It told me that le signal was insuffisant. I went outside and peered up at our satellite dish (antenne parabolique or parabole) to see if anything looked unhooked or damaged. Nothing did. The dish has worked well for 12 years now, and nothing has changed.

I came back in and changed out the ID cards, one of which is inserted into each box to provide it with connection information about the packages of programs we subscribe to along with our account name and password. I tried each card in each machine. At one point the working decoder box displayed a message on the TV screen saying that one of the cards was invalide. I thought I was on to something but that message went away and never came back, no matter how many times I took one card out and inserted the other one.

This means not "please don't roll in the grass" but "please don't drive on the grass."

Still, I wasn't getting any TV signal so I figured there was something wrong with one of the two heads on the satellite dish. The one for the upstairs TV worked, but the one for the downstairs TV must have malfunctioned. That meant I would need to call for a repair person to come look at it. Then I suddenly realized that the cable running from the dish to the box had come unplugged while I was messing with the machine, pushing cards into the slot on the side and pulling them back out. Once I got the cable hooked back up, bingo! Voilà ! I had TV on one box, both upstairs and downstairs.

The other one still wouldn't work. I had it hooked up — correctly and completely hooked up — upstairs. It wouldn't come to life up there or down in the living room. Satisfied that it really was the box and not the antenna that had pooped out, I called the CanalSat representative, a home appliance shop over in Selles-sur-Cher. I explained the situation as best I could, describing the symptoms and the things I had done to try to get it working again. The man listened patiently and then said, well, just bring it in and we will give you a new one.

So that's what I have to do this morning. Selles is about 10 miles downriver from us. I had planned to go to SuperU this morning anyway, and the fact is that there's a SuperU right next door to the appliance store over in Selles. I'll do my shopping over there rather than here in Saint-Aignan.

Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon I popped an old disc into the DVD player upstairs and settled in to watch a movie. I couldn't get the aspect ratio right — the picture looked distorted. I started trying to adjust it, pushing buttons on the remote control to make the picture look right. Some button I pushed disabled the whole machine. Now it will play sound but it won't play video. I ended up messing with it for a couple of hours until I finally gave up in frustration.

Meanwhile, our weather has turned very hot. The high temperature is supposed to be 32ºC this afternoon — that's close to 90ºF. I heard a report yesterday saying that this month is on track to be the driest June since 1949 in France. And the temperature is supposed to stay close to or even above 90 all next week. Can you say canicule?


  1. When it rains it pours! Sorry for all your technical misfortunes. Hope everything comes back to normal very soon. Nice to see more photos of La Chapelle-d'Angillon.

  2. Yikes, that is hot!
    And, so many little annoying video-type issues :( (But, great job narrowing down the problem.)

    I enjoyed the photos, too :)

  3. Nice photos, sorry about the dvd player. I rely on Lewis for all tech stuff. You're getting the hot weather we've been suffering through. It feels like August already here.

  4. Sorry for the political intrusion since you will most probably see it on the Journal de 20 hrs:

    A win for equality in the USA!

    Sad that it wasn't unanimous though.
    The legacy for justices Scalia and Thomas will be one of mean spiritedness , no matter how much they try to couch themselves in being "strict constitutionalists"

    Prez Obama will also address this win very shortly :-)

  5. Here in Oregon we are now at record-breaking temperatures. Around 4:30 p.m. a bank I went by had Celsius first: 36 or 37 and then 96.
    6:00 news said we were at 98F.

    Very exciting news from SOTUS - Supremes voted 5-4 in favor of marriage equality as the Beaver reported above! It's about time.

    Mary in Oregon

  6. Sometimes it feels like the world is changing so fast that it makes my head spin. Good for you, I hope, Mary, that you are having such hot weather. I hope it won't last too long. Our day today is supposed to be slightly cooler than yesterday (high 32 or so), but there are still predictions for a heat wave next week. Good for the U.S. Supreme Court, too, for recognizing and endorsing the rights of people like Walt and me, and many millions of others, in our pursuit of happiness.

    Beaver, yes, some mean spirits will always be around. Luckily they are not the majority, at least in this case. The U.S. finally enjoys Canada, Belgium, France, the U.K., and other countries in recognizing marriage equality. We saw the announcement on the internet yesterday afternoon and turned on CNN for a few minutes to see the reports from Washington. When I think how careful we had to be to keep our "secret" just 30 years ago, when we lived there, it's pretty incredible.

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