The Great Digital TV Hijack

This keeps coming up on news, year after year, and I still can’t work out who perpetrates it. Digital TV is coming, so it can’t be someone out to sabotage it, and it seems pointless even for the people who like to find something to crusade about, it isn’t helping anyone, and is only spreading worry amongst vulnerable and gullible viewers – the elderly and non-technical.

The plan is to have the UK television service fully digital by 2012, with 2010 as a more likely completion date. The date is set by by the re-allocation of the frequencies used for other licenced services, so it must be done. There seems to some group determined to spread lies and cause concern among ordinary folk who have no comprehension of the difference or technicalities of digital vs. analogue TV. Typically, they reared their head a few years ago, and ever since have been promoting the myth that analogue TV was to be ‘turned off within 2 years’. Today’s news had someone stating the turn off was set for 2008.
The effect is to cause alarm amongst those who live in area where digital coverage will not arrive until the latter part of the changeover period, there’s more alarm when they warn that ‘ordinary’ TV sets won’t work with the new system, and they don’t bother to mention set-top boxes that allow analogue TVs to be used to display digital TV. They also seem to take the greatest pleasure in making the use of a set-top box akin to gaining a doctorate in electronic engineering, again causing alarm among the elderly and non-tech population, pointing out the nest of remotes and confusion having them all causes.
I think they’ve never used one – I have only first generation set-top boxes, and they are clunky compared to today’s, but after the novelty wore off, the TV remote is only used to turn it on and off – the set-top box remote does everything else once your mindset has ‘switched off’ the habit of using the TV remote. There is a downside (nothing’s perfect) and they don’t work well with video recorder programming. I haven’t found it a problem, and I guess newer units have much improved facilities, and those yet to come will be better still. The problem is a thing of the past, as TVs and all the new variants of the VCR have digital tuners built in, so the issue just doesn’t arise.

I wish I knew what the hijacker’s agenda was, other than to cause upset amongst the vulnerable.

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