Monday, 7 June 2010


I wish I knew more about television - the sets, that is, not the programmes broadcast on tv.

Over the course of the next few years, television broadcasting across the whole country is to be changed from analogue to digital. In fact, the change has already taken place in some parts. Now I don't pretend to understand the difference between analogue and digital when it comes to broadcasting. I do know the difference between an analogue watch and a digital one, but that's it as far as my knowledge goes. Except that television sets which receive analogue signals will not necessarily receive digital ones. Those "old" sets can be converted by plugging in a set-top Freeview box (at a cost) or by linking to cable broadcasting (a different box) or to satellite broadcasting (a receiver dish and yet another different box). I took the step of linking to cable a year or two back and this gives us quite a lot more channels to watch. With the indoor aerial that we use we get just the standard four channels and these are generally enough for us, although we do occasionally watch a repeat of an old programme on one of the cable channels. There are also times when atmospheric conditions are bad for reception and we switch over to cable, but otherwise we never use cable - and I'm paying £12 a month just to have it there.

A few weeks ago, I was in one of the local supermarkets when I saw a television on offer at £180. Not only did this have in-built Freeview, and therefore digital reception, but it also had a built-in dvd player and records onto a memory stick. The flat screen and slim build impressed me and would look a lot neater than our 8-years-old set which is one of those bulky tube things - although there is still absolutely nothing wrong with it. I was tempted, but did nothing.

Last week, however, I saw that the store still had some of those tvs and it occurred to me that with the built-in Freeview they offered, I would be able to cancel my cable subscription and recoup the price of the new tv in 18 months. So I wnt onto the store's web site to find out more. I think perhaps that was where I made my mistake. I just don't understand what all the technical terms mean. I just about managed to work out that a screen with a resolution of 1366 x 768 doesn't display a picture quite as well as a screen with a higher resolution, but what on earth is contrast ratio (I think I understand aspect ration correctly as width compared to height) or component input?

So do I lash out and buy one? Or do I lash out a bit more and buy one with a better specification? Or do I do nothing?


Uncle Skip, said...

Grumble, grumble... HDTV is a big scam here. In order to see anything in high definition more money has to be spent, either for a new antenna or upgrades to cable or satellite. Those of us who don't get the upgrades still see an analog picture, even if we have the High Definition Television. Since there really isn't much worthwhile to watch, why pay the extra?

Brighton Pensioner said...

I had forgotten all about high definition, which is something I am really not bothered about.