Sunday, August 17, 2008

How far will YOU go for BYU football?

So, as you may have known, starting in 2006 the Mountain West Conference made the brilliant decision of getting its own TV network, The Mtn., to broadcast its athletic events. Unfortunately, when they made this deal, the contract that they got made absolutely NO guarantees of distribution. Therefore, even though BYU's 11-2 football seasons in 2006 and 2007 were absolutely amazing and merited extremely high rankings, nobody cared because nobody got to watch! For this reason, I flew from Austin to Provo to watch all but one of the BYU home football games last season.

However, starting August 27, DirecTV is picking up The Mtn. Clearly, this means that we must get DirecTV. I never even had to wonder, "Should I get DirecTV?" It was more like, "How far do I have to go to get DirecTV in my apartment? Who must I pay/bribe/torture/etc. so that I can have it?" So, earlier this month, we checked with the apartment complex, who gave us an okay provided we didn't drill into anything, and called up DirecTV to set up the appointment.

Unfortunately for us, the laws of physics governing orbital mechanics dictate that geosynchronous communication satellites can only be placed in orbit above the equator. Translation: if you live in the northern hemisphere, you better be facing south if you want DirecTV. Well, our apartment faces north. We tried every option we could think of, but none would pass both the apartment complex's rules and give us line of sight to the satellite. The only thing we didn't try (yet) is moving into another apartment in the complex. We seriously considered it, though.

However, this story should have a happy ending after all. As it always does, the Internet comes to the rescue!

See, starting in 2005, a device called a Slingbox has been on sale which allows you to stream video from a TV signal over the internet to a computer or, more recently, a mobile device. You hook the TV into it, you hook it into your internet connection, and you install a program at the computer which talks to SlingMedia's servers, finds your Slingbox, and establishes a connection. And, since my parents are getting DirecTV, being BYU football junkies themselves, I bought them a Slingbox. Assuming I can help them enough over the phone to install it correctly, we'll be able to watch my beloved Cougars roll through the 2008 season undefeated and unchallenged, all the way to a BCS bowl game, which will be mercifully shown on FOX in HD. :)

Gotta love technology!