#115 – Surviving the communications age, part 9.

The time has come to speak of the deity that people around the world gather to and worship on a daily basis: television.  We are not talking about the quality of what people watch; dreck is dreck in any language.  Nor are we talking about the bilge heard from politicians, the television networks, or the self-promotion that is supposed to be accepted as news.  We are only talking about the supposedly simple act of operating a modern home television system with its accoutrements of antenna systems, gaming systems, sound systems, recorders, video disc players, links to the Internet, and accompanying hard discs for downloads.  Do you have your engineering degree for that?

And do not even suggest that there is such a thing as a truly universal remote.  It does not exist.  Having just one manufacturer supply all your components would alleviates some of the strain but interposing cable or satellite feeds will destroy that advantage.  And it is not just seniors, the confused, the challenged and the unwary that are confounded by the technology.  Just add three-dimensional television to this melange and there is a consumer confrontation in the offing.

And we are not blaming high definition technology for this problem.  High definition television was long overdue in North America.  Competing standards and confused politicians dragged the consumer through years of arguing and a quagmire of claims and counter claims.  The solutions are a mishmash of mixed technologies.  The truth is that your cable and satellite supplier is downgrading your signal to something we should call quasi-high definition.

In North America, we have been sold for years on how cable and satellite can give us a great signal.  It comes as a surprise to high definition television users that they can get a much better signal from the modern equivalent of rabbit ears.  You have no need for cable or satellite to receive local channels.  The only qualifier is that your local channels have all been converted to digital signals.

In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission has exempted small market television stations from the expense of going digital.  Why should the CRTC or the networks care about people in the boondocks?

But the basic problem is still the simple act of a) turning on the power, b) selecting a program, c) making sure that the program is properly sized for the screen, and d) adjusting the volume.  Please note, we left out the complexities of a decision about whether to view in high definition, whether the program was recorded or live off-air or whether the television set was set up for playing tennis on your Wii.  Those are just unnecessary complications.

Mind you, the wife has figured out the solution to the problem.  She gets the flat screen, high definition system totally screwed up and then she gives up and goes back to the large screen boxy tube set in the bedroom.  That one, she knows.

– 30 –

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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