Sunday, December 06, 2009


I spent the past week in Phoenix for work, and as I travel pretty frequently (for work and pleasure), I have some experience with hotel televisions and the crapshoot that such stays entail.

My first concern is always for channel selection. Outside the comfort of my own home and cable area, I'm never sure what I'm in for when it comes to basic cable. Sure, you can usually score HBO in some far-flung hotel, but staples like the CW, Bravo, Lifetime, etc. are hit or miss. I was in Atlanta a few months ago (soon after Project Runway had premiered) and there was no Lifetime. Sadness! And then! There have been countless CW-free nights where Supernatural, Top Model, and others (that I am too embarrassed to mention) were left to languish in some distant television market.

And of course there is always the more basic problem of hotel televisions themselves. This past trip to Phoenix, the remote control in the bedroom barely worked. I mean, it would change channels, etc., but apparently there was a millimeter-wide area where you were supposed to aim the remote. Which means I spent some evenings sitting in bed waving my arms like a crazy person trying to get the stupid channel to change. And trust me, this is not an uncommon occurrence.

There's also the ever-present problem of trying to figure out what channel is what. Just when I have barely learned the channel line-up on my own cable, I get sent to some distant city where FOX news is sandwiched between NBC and ABC and every time you turn on the television it resets on the "hotel services" channel. So. Annoying.

Finally, time zones. I'm not sure how choices like these are made, but with a two hour time difference I never quite figured out when some shows were going to air. I guess the Mountain zone follows a Central-like schedule, because most shows started an hour early (example-House started at 7), but other shows like So You Think You Can Dance actually started at the same time, i.e. 8. It made planning my evening quite difficult.

But now I'm home, safe and sound, with a DVR chock-full of all the shows I missed last week. And I will never take my cable package, working television, and Eastern time zone for granted again.

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