I took the plunge and got a TV licence for the first time in six and a half years.
As a PR person without access to television I was initially viewed as an eccentric or subversive element by my superiors, but with the rise of broadband my lack of televisual life seemed less strange.
What prompted this reconnection?
A mix of factors:
- Compelling content with a re-run of This Life, Into the West and series five of Spooks
- Bit Torrent being about as useful as a one-legged man in a shit-kicking contest
- A free set up – I got the TV, DVD player and freeview box from a friend who was upgrading and spent 50 GBP on a high-gain aerial. I adapted the mounting bracket from a gauche looking satellite dish that was in-situ when I arrived in my house
Some initial observations from my reconnection:
- User interfaces on consumer electronics are appalling. Consumer electronics definitely need the iPod factor to bring them into the 21st century
- The technology doesn’t work, half of the freeview channels don’t work, though I only regret the loss of Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Bloomberg TV. This isn’t the box, its the Swiss cheese digital TV network. Ireland learned from the UK digital roll-out and have cranked up the power on their transmitters to compensate
- The shockingly poor quality of shopping channels still amaze me; I remember watching QVC in disbelief in my final year of college a decade ago. It hasn’t changed for the better. Traditional channels still have the upper hand in quality content
- The market doesn’t work; the increase in customer choice through increased channel and competition for the ad mans dollar hasn’t brought a corresponding improvement in the quality of content available
I feel ambivalent to the TV an know that I will not be trapped in its grip like many people I know.