Sam Bauman: Turning back the clock on TV



No doubt many seniors call recall photos from the 1960s of masses of TV antenna clustering on rooftops. Now almost all are gone and fixers anxious to make many bucks of heretofore free TV broadcasts by gathering them in packages and selling them for a first modest fees for a hundred channels.

I was reminded of all this when I got my satellite TV package bill of $50 for the month. I can remember a couple of years ago when the fee was $19.99 a month, but inexorably it had reached $50 — no more service, lots more channels than I would ever watch. Did I really need all those weird channels? I mostly watched local ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and Fox TV. No special channels for the NFL or other sports. News programs in the morning and evening and a check of Channel 5 for nature or political shows like “Frontline.”

Did I really new 100 channels to steal my free time? Nope, so I went to Best Buy and bought an indoor TV antenna for $19.95. I had remembered that local TV stations are required by FCC to broadcast their programs on the air free.

After struggling to plug in the lead from the antenna where the cable lead had been (tough, as it has to be firmly screwed in and it was tight quarters for these aging fingers) and turning on the TV I was told by the TV “no signal” found. I moved the antenna around (it had a long antenna lead) and got a glimmer of a scrambled picture.

Baffled, I went to the TV store up the street. They told me to point the antenna toward Mt. Rose and then just try some channels. I did and found that Channel 4 (NBC) came in as Channel 7; Channel 8 was 8 and, 5 was 29, and 2 came in on 10. Fox (Channel 11) came in on Channel 11.

No explanation, just remember the mixed locations. So I bought at new 32-inch TV and hooked it to an antenna and it worked fine (my old TV was a behemoth CRT model, getting rid of it was a chore. A problem is, if I sit in the wrong place the picture can break up. So I sit where the picture is not distorted.

An additional benefit is, with the antenna I can easily log into the other channels broadcasters offer freely, like 4-2 or 5-3.

If you’re a senior not technically wise and want to try antenna TV and save money but are not technically savvy, get a neighbor or the building supervisor to help. But don’t call me, I’m busy enjoying my free TV, just like in the old days.

Missed a category in anti-aging hype

Ran out of space last week so missed one kind of hype to beware of.

This sort of hucksterism promises health and vitality. There’s a long list of supplements that stave off aspects of aging and also boost mood, enhance sexual function and increase energy. What’s peddled here?

Common is the hormone DHEA which in theory can increase testosterone and estrogen, coenzyme Q10, a vitamin substance that helps provide energy for cells, and melatonin, a sleep control regulator.

There’s no much evidence that these supplements have any anti-aging properties. And as with all supplements, you have to be sure that what’s listed on the label is what is in the product. Warnings about side effects do not have to be printed on the label.

Melatonin can interact with blood pressure drugs, diabetes drugs and blood thinners.

As has been said and written hundreds of times, the best anti-aging product is regular exercise and a healthy diet, the big two of living longer better.

Anytime a senior is ready to try some new anti-aging product, it’s best to go to the Internet and see what critics have said about. Wade through the company hype and find what Wikipedia and others have said about the elixir before sending a check.

Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.


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