Sunday, 21 October 2007

Still Thinking of Giving Up TV

I hear chatter about the BBC and a Media Licence Fee that would cover broadband as well as TV aerial transmission. One can imagine the fee added to monthly charges. I think this should be killed stone dead, but here is one reason why it might well live.

I'm fed up with television. Today I watched part (20 minutes) of a film I've seen before, its ending, and before it finished a piece of information was put on the screen about what was on next. I had no interest in what was on next. I had my viewing interrupted, pierced by this intrusion. In future I shall ignore their films and even endings of one. Then there are the dramas put on BBC Four. They now put their logo on dramas, as if we cannot find the channel. It ruins the viewing, so I do not watch them. I'm not just writing this, I really do not watch. The BBC logo comes in an out of shot according to the brightness and darkness of that segment of the screen. I'll put up with it for news and for talking heads, but little else. It drives me nuts and I put it off.

It is why I don't watch UK TV History. It should interest me, but its logo is intrusive and it is filled with programmes I have seen before. They can't even do the wideview properly. It has now gone off in the evenings, to make way for some utter rubbish called Dave. A channel called Dave! Another one of no interest is Virgin 1, that replaced the rubbish that was FTN (so no difference there, then).

At the end of December I have to buy another licence. A friend says, if I am getting rid of the TV can they have it? I think they probably can. I see there is a special place now at the local dump for all TV and electrical equipment. I could sell some too. As well s this, I have this Thomson Freeview box, and it had a really good programme guide. Then it was infested with a Teletext Guide I could not avoid receiving, and every time I have to reset the box to go back to the better "old" one. It is yet another annoyance, though I find myself using the guide less often. Also, when you don't use it, you stop seeing programmes you might have watched. I don't buy a listings magazine (they are only as good as the rubbish transmitted), and I do not buy any newspapers.

In fact newspapers are dead, and TV is going the same way. As far as I am concerned, TV as it expands and "goes digital" is dying. It is dying in a sea of rubbish and repeats.

Recently ITV digital channels added colour to its logos. I thought I'll just try and avoid their distraction and watch some old stuff remembered on ITV 4. Yes, ancient repeats. Then I find they crash the adverts into the programmes. Those programmes were written with two breaks in them. They crash three breaks into them. Oh well, I'll eat my tea in silence instead.

Back to the main point. I can see basic pictures of events now that the BBC puts BBC News 24 on the Internet 15 seconds late. It puts Newsnight on the Internet after it has gone out. Good: then there is really no point having a TV in order to look at events.

In ten years, when broadband then makes broadband now look like a couple of cans and a taut piece of string, the computer will carry all media (and will have altered itself). The TV licence fee will be like a dinosaur. This is why they will tax computers, or the receipt of an information line into one - but in the meantime I think I've had enough.

My mother moved elsewhere in December 2006. She had received a free licence as a pensioner. I've already told her I'm thinking of getting rid of the TVs and all receiving and recording equipment. I'd lose hiss-free radio, except (again) via the computer, but then I hardly listen to radio either.

The BBC is cutting staff at the margins due to the licence fee settlement. If I was it, I'd be worried that it has no medium term future at all unless it can find another tax. As its licence fee goes up in price for a reduced service, and as the BBC is surrounded by a digital age of junk, and as it will add more repeats to a repeats-ridden BBC Four and to the pointlessness of BBC 3, it might find more and more people saying it is time to give up television. The age of television is over and it is visibly dying by the day.


Anonymous said...

When I inquired of the TV licensing people, I was told that the fact that I was connected to the Internet itself meant I needed a TV licence.

Others claim that this is a barefaced lie on the part of the authorities.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

It is a lie - at present. Anything attached to an aerial input or satellite or has these warrants a licence. So a Freeview box, video and/ or DVD recorder, and any form of TV needs a licence - a computer does not unless it has a TV reception card inside and is receiving a signal. BBC News 24 via broadband on a 15 second delay is not included in this.