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Jim Rossman: Video chat helps take care of mom’s TV malfunction

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Published in Science & Technology News

You never know when trouble will strike — even during “General Hospital.”

Mom hasn’t hit me up with a tech problem in a while, and I was beginning to feel like she didn’t need me anymore.

Then I got a text message from her last week. She was having trouble with the TV in the living room. Her TCL Roku TV was stuck on the Roku home screen, and she couldn’t get it to change inputs.

I had her turn the set off and then back on, because I thought I had set the TV to always switch to her AT&T U-Verse box when the TV was turned on.

It didn’t.

I’ll have to check that setting the next time I go to visit.

We have it set up so that her U-Verse remote controls the TV power and volume, but it can’t change the TV inputs, so I had her dig out the Roku remote that came with the TV.

As I started explaining to Mom what I wanted her to do, it became obvious that something was amiss.

I ask her to switch over to FaceTime, so she could point the phone at the TV and let me see what she’s seeing.

Here’s my little commercial for using video chat to help solve problems.

With the press of one button, Mom and I moved from a voice call to a video call.

I realize this is nothing new, but my family isn’t the type to make video calls just because we want to see each other. Voice calls work just fine, but video is really handy when things are hard to describe.

 

The Roku interface is navigated by using the up, down, left and right arrows on the Roku remote.

I was telling her to press the right arrow and look for the highlighted box. That sounds easy enough, but when pressing the arrow results in nothing happening, things can get frustrating fast.

After a bit of awkward direction, “Hold the phone higher, Mom, I can’t see the TV,” I saw what she saw — and that the remote wasn’t doing anything.

The next step in troubleshooting was to replace the batteries in the remote.

Mom was able to get the battery cover off and determine that she needed two AAA batteries.

Luckily, she had some new ones on hand and got them installed pretty quickly.

With fresh batteries, the remote sprang to life and Mom was able to press that right arrow to highlight U-Verse in her input list and press the OK button to bring back her beloved General Hospital.

My guess is there was something pressing on the remote buttons in the drawer and it drained the batteries.

Crisis averted.

Tech problems come in all sizes, and this one wasn’t exactly that difficult to fix, but readers tell me they like it when I write about my mom.

I like it, too.

©2022 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
 

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