Have You Tried All the Buttons?

BrianTwo months ago, ballgame scores quit showing on our television; they were chopped off at the bottom—or at the top. It didn’t matter which. The same proved true for subtitles in foreign films. This posed a conundrum.

My wife, Tandy, tried various options with the remote, and then the television itself, even calling the manufacturer’s tech department at VIZIO, who walked her through more ways to adjust the picture. Unfortunately, we had lost the VIZIO remote when moving, now having only the DISH and DVR remotes (yes, we still have two).remote

When she shrank the picture, the score didn’t show. When she enlarged the picture, it was worse. Ballgames on those channels became frustrating. It was like sports on radio, or on television in the days when one waited for the commentator to say the score.



Over the holidays, Kentucky played Louisville in the annual rivalry basketball game. The score didn’t show. Family was pouring in, and I finally set my IPad on score updates from ESPN and set it next to Tandy’s brother Bill, an intense UK fan. Two of his sons tried their hand at adjustments with the TV remote. Nothing worked. I could sense it:  “How come our dumb family members have a TV like this?”

Carson and Mindy

Carson & Mindy

VIZIO is a good TV brand. After all, this year’s NCAA football title game was the “2014 VIZIO BCS National Championship.” Our son Carson helped Tandy research TVs and confirmed it as a reputable brand. However, a reputable brand needs reputable operators, and the problem did turn out to be a problem that more sleuthing could solve. The TV works off the DISH remote, and after a couple of dead end tries, Carson pushed the “FORMAT” button. We didn’t know that it existed, but there it is in large letters.

Somehow two months ago without knowing it, we had hit that button and slightly zoomed the picture. One little adjustment and all was back to normal. Ahh, what a good feeling. How had we overlooked the obvious or not explored every button? That’s just it; we live in an age of multiplying buttons.

remote close upI’m trying to think what we learned from this. Logic suggests that a setting that is off came from an operation performed, even if unknowingly. This leads to canvassing all the buttons and going through a process of elimination. That is tedious and takes time. However, not to do it raises the question, “What will one settle for?” Carson has always been one to push past “We’ve done all we can.”

There’s an old cliché, “like trying to find a needle in a haystack.” That saying didn’t appear out of nowhere, and in the non-agrarian sector, the haystack is dozens of buttons and the options with each.


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